Culinary whiz-kid Josh Klapper whips up tasty fundraiser to benefit Tourette Syndrome walk in Mendham

Terrill Middle School student fed dozens of customers November 17 at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains in the debut of Josh’s Pop-Up Restaurant – one of his many fundraising efforts.

SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. – Josh Klapper has always had a passion for cooking. Just a seventhgrader at Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains, Klapper already has attended culinary camps and one day hopes to become a chef. Cooking isn’t his only passion, though. Klapper also wants to see Tourette Syndrome eradicated from the neurological disorder map, and through the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders’ (NJCTS) NJ Walks for TS program, he found the perfect outlet to merge those two passions.

On November 17, Klapper debuted “Josh’s Pop-Up Restaurant” at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains, using the culinary venture as a fundraiser for NJ Walks for TS at Mendham – which will take place Saturday, November 23, at Borough Park in Mendham. Klapper’s delicious menu netted $422 in donations, bringing his fundraising total for NJ Walks for TS to nearly $1,500.

“I had a great time opening up my first pop-up restaurant,” said Klapper, who has spearheaded other fundraising and awareness efforts on behalf of NJCTS at Terrill Middle School. “I felt very good that I was able to do what I like while still raising money for Tourette’s Syndrome.”

Klapper – with a little help from his parents, Andrew and Susan – served up eggs on a bagel, customizable omelettes, cinnamon apples, grilled cheese and seasoned popcorn in a bag. Dozens of hungry customers came through the doors during the four-hour window the pop-up restaurant was open for business, and each of them not only went home full and happy – each gave something to the NJ Walks for TS cause.

“I am glad that everybody enjoyed the food while reading the information about Tourette’s,” Klapper added. “Thank you to everyone that supported Josh’s Pop-Up restaurant.”

Klapper and his team – “Josh K’s Team for TS” – will be one of more than 30 walking and running at NJ Walks for TS at Mendham. Now in its fourth year, NJ Walks for TS at Mendham exists to help fund NJCTS’ landmark School In-Service Program – which seeks to educate students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, an inherited, misunderstood, misdiagnosed neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 children. NJCTS is expecting as many as 400 participants for this year’s event, making it the most successful to date – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Klapper and many other families and supporters.

Other highly successful fundraising events that have taken place on NJCTS’ behalf in 2013 include ones at Terrill Middle School, Ramapo College, North Brunswick High School, South Plainfield High School and the Northern Burlington County Regional School District. More than $15,000 was raised through those five outlets, and the goal for this year’s NJ Walks for TS is $50,000. To put that in perspective, it costs NJCTS $71,000 per year to fund the School In-Service program.

To find out how to start your own fundraiser to help NJCTS better serve New Jersey’s Tourette community, call 908-575-7350 or e-mail info@njcts.org. For more information about TS or the efforts of youth advocates around the state, please visit www.njcts.org or the Teens4TS blog.