Operation Sleighbells is Family & Children’s Service’s signature program. The program traces its roots to 1909, to the start of our agency, when a group of Long Branch community leaders committed their personal resources to purchase toys for impoverished children at Christmast. That original program evolved to include the distribution of food and coal to those in need and later expanded to provide critical social services for individuals and families throughout Monmouth County.
Today Operation Sleighbells enlists hundreds of local businesses, churches, clubs, organizations, individuals and families during the holiday season to provide gifts of warm coats, hats, gloves, toys, books, infant necessities and other supplies for families who may be struggling financially or facing other challenges during a difficult time of year.
Operation Sleighbells serves more than 1,500 children annually throughout Monmouth County. It is unique in that both the sponsor and the recipient remain anonymous, allowing parents and guardians to provide gifts to their children without having to reveal where or who they came from. This anonymous participation also gives volunteers a greater understanding of the impact of their giving on the entire community, rather than on the one child or family they may have helped.
Families in need of Operation Sleighbells assistance for the 2015 holiday season may register in person at the agency at 191 Bath Avenue, in Long Branch on the following dates:
- 7:30 am – 1:30 pm, Tuesday, September 29
- 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Wednesday, September 30
- 3:00 – 7:00 pm, Thursday, October 1
Families are required to provide photo identification of the custodial parent or guardian, and birth certificates for each child in their care, 16-years-of age and younger. Guardians must also present guardianship papers. Registrations will not be accepted by phone.
If you are interested in helping with with Operation Sleighbells, there are several options:
- Adopt a family
We’ll provide the ages, sizes and wishes of each child in a registered family. Some sponsors also provide gifts for the caregivers and create a basket of non-perishable food for the family’s holiday dinner.
- Host a collection drive
We’ll provide sleigh tags to hang on a tree at your workplace, school or club. Each tag lists the first name of a child with his or her age, size and holiday wishes. Employees or group members can then select a tag from the tree and buy a gift for that particular child.
- Donate gifts
We gladly accept new, unwrapped toys, clothes and non-perishable food items, and will sort and distribute them based on the needs of those registered for the program.
- Monetary donations and gift cards
If you don’t have time to shop, Family & Children’s Service will do the shopping for you.
We will work with businesses and organizations to coordinate a collection drive at your home or office. If you would like to participate, Interested in volunteering for Operation Sleighbells? Give us a call, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org