More than 25 schools in Sussex and Northern Warren counties spent the last few weeks of 2020 collecting thousands of toys and gift cards in a friendly Stuff the Stocking competition to benefit the Season of Hope Toy Drive.
With the coronavirus upending school schedules and forcing most institutions to conduct learning remotely, donating to the annual Stuff the Stocking contest became more challenging this year for many students. In response, Project Self-Sufficiency created new competition categories to reflect the altered learning landscape: In-Person Schools, Remote Schools and Elementary Schools.
Tying for first place in the category of In-Person Schools were Pope John Middle School and Reverend Brown Elementary School, both located in Sparta.
North Warren Regional in Blairstown and Lenape Valley Regional in Stanhope shared first place in the Remote School category. Fredon and Lounsberry Hollow in Vernon tied for first place in the Elementary School division.
“Even during normal circumstances, the holidays can be a difficult time for many families in our area,” said Deborah Berry-Toon, executive director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “The overwhelming response by these students in the face of a global pandemic and the added challenges of remote school instruction demonstrates to the families served by Season of Hope Toy Shop that the community genuinely cares about them. Having children select toys for other children is a special way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season. We are exceptionally grateful to these students, their families, and the schools for supporting this effort.”
The Season of Hope Toy Drive is a joint initiative coordinated by Project Self-Sufficiency and its community partners. New, unwrapped toys and gift are provided to children in need from Sussex County and Northern Warren County. In 2020, more than 2,000 children and teens received new gifts from the Season of Hope Toy Shop.
For more information visit projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500.