Martha Brown pays special attention to the residents of the fourth floor at New Community Manor Senior.
As the floor captain, Brown is responsible for knocking on doors, distributing monthly calendars, passing out announcements, encouraging participation at Tenant Association meetings and generally ensuring the welfare of her neighbors.
Taking on the role as floor captain was somewhat unplanned for Brown. She inherited the role after the former captain had temporary plans to be away but never returned, according to Brown.
Now a few years into the position, Brown has embraced her role. Her concern for the wellbeing of others comes naturally. “How’s your foot?” Brown inquired of a fellow resident passing through the community room on a recent Tuesday.
A resident of Manor Senior since 2006, Brown also volunteers every Wednesday at a food pantry operated by First Hopewell Baptist Church in Newark, where she has been a member for more than three decades.
Her care coordinator, Giselle Oviedo, described Brown as a “very caring resident who is always willing to help out by all means.”
Born in Hartselle, Ala., Brown and her family moved from the South to New Jersey when she was young and they settled in Orange. Later on, Brown moved to Hillside.
In terms of jobs, Brown has worked in a wide range of settings. She’s been employed at toy factories, assembly lines for perfumes, credit card manufacturers, bag factory, cassette tape factories and worked at a temporary employment agency providing transportation. At one point, she served as a postal worker and even did a stint in food service, manning the kitchen grill at Montclair State University.
Brown had wanted to become a nurse but dropped out early in her high school career. Later on, however, she did go back to earn her GED.
A hardworking woman up until retiring at age 62, Brown jokes that she was looking to slow things down but eventually found herself part of the usher board at First Hopewell Baptist Church.
“When I came to this church, they found another job for me,” she said wryly.
Brown has three grown children who live in Orange and East Orange.