Season of Hope

Community. Thousands of gifts for area children in need will be gathered in the Season of Hope Toy Drive.

08 Nov 2019 | 03:33

J.P Perry, the Chairman of this year's Season of Hope Toy Drive, poignantly summed up the initiative's mission at Friday's kick off.

“There are no bad kids, but some kids get a bad deal. There are about 2,000 children who are depending on this toy drive and we aren't going to let them down.”

The toy drive is made possible by a collaboration of businesses, educators and non-profit organizations who gathered to kick off the annual Season of Hope Toy Drive. The drive challenges individuals, schools and businesses serving Sussex and Northern Morris and Warren Counties to collect enough toys by mid-December to enable thousands of children to have a memorable and happy holiday.

In keeping the Toy Drive's incentive, the kick off rung in the holiday season beginning with the grand entrance of Santa Claus. Each year, Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Member George Graham dons the red suit for this event to punctuate the importance of the Toy Drive.

Said Project Self-Sufficiency's Executive Director, Deborah Berry-Toon, “The Toy Drive is a witness for all that is good in Sussex County. It's about community coming together and about helping those in need.”

The toy drive is a joint effort which is driven and coordinated by Project Self-Sufficiency, along with its partners First Hope Bank, Gravity DesignWorks, iHeartMedia, Inc., Intercar Mercedes Benz, The New Jersey Herald, Off Shore Marine, Pass it Along, The Printing Center, Selective Insurance Company of America, Service Electric Broadband Cable, Sparta Train Station, Stocker Bus Company, the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Sussex Honda, and the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots to benefit local families in need. The mission is simple: collect as many new and unwrapped items to distribute to families in need during mid-December.

New Jersey Assemblyman Parker Space addressed the group saying, “We are a community that looks out for one another. Its great so see Project Self-Sufficiency take the lead and partner with others to assure our underprivileged children get to experience a great Christmas and Holiday season they will always remember.”

Area elementary schools, middle schools and high schools will once again be invited to participate in a competitive “Stuff the Stocking” campaign.

Roger Jinks, Hamburg Elementary School Superintendent and current President of the Sussex County Superintendent’s Roundtable, said,"The Season of Hope Toy Drive has become one of the most rewarding programs in which students in our area can make a difference in the lives of our local families in need. With a friendly spirit of competition among the schools to see which one will be the next trophy winner, children learn the significance their generosity can have in bringing joy to others.”

A wish list has been assembled for those who want to contribute. Items needed for teens include electronics, such as calculators, watches, portable music devices, computer games and software, popular CD’s, make-up, perfume, scented lotions, hair dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons, jewelry and accessories, sports equipment and team gear, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats, popular books, clothing and pajamas, and backpacks.

Items sought for younger children include books; Legos, blocks and building toys, action figures, DVD’s and CD’s, electronic learning games, infant toys, multicultural dolls and toys, Play Doh, trading and collectible cards, matchbox cars, and trendy toys.

In addition, donation of gift cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes and stocking stuffers are always appreciated.

Gift items can be dropped off at Project Self-Sufficiency, 127 Mill Street in Newton, Monday – Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations are requested by Wednesday, Dec 13 to allow ample time for the items to be distributed to needy families.

For information about the Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500 or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.