Long Branch, NJ, Jan. 15, 2020 – Hundreds of Monmouth County families enjoyed a brighter holiday this season, thanks to area businesses, organizations and individuals who partnered with Family & Children’s Service (FCS) to support the agency’s founding program, Operation Sleighbells. The holiday donation drive, which traces its roots back to 1909, provided thousands of donated toys, books, coats, pajamas and infant necessities to more than 1,400 local children in need, including children served by child protection programs in central and southern Monmouth County. Dozens of volunteers helped collect, sort and distribute the gifts in the two weeks leading up to the holidays.
“Operation Sleighbells is a wonderful representation of FCS’s mission for supporting those in need with our programs and services” said Colleen Verriest, chief executive officer of FCS. “We are receiving requests from families not just for toys but for daily essentials which this initiative is able to provide.”
Operation Sleighbells is different from other toy drives in that it addresses the specific wishes of each participating child and ensures that each child receives a new coat, hat, gloves and pajamas. Families are asked to provide the ages, sizes and needs of the children in their care. Donors are then asked to fulfill the requests, either individually or by sponsoring an entire family.
For the fifth year, the Monmouth Park Racetrack donated 10,000 square feet of space needed to store, sort and distribute the thousands of donated gifts. FCS Director of Volunteer Services Samantha White says, “without the off-site location, FCS would not be able to help nearly the number of families it serves.”
Along with the many individual families who signed up to donate, businesses and organizations across the state also participated, including companies like Stop & Shop, who enlisted over 300 employees from 20 stores to adopt 50 families and the Colts Neck PBA, who donated funds to benefit the many teens in the program.
Other contributors included: Ansell Healthcare, The Atlantic Club, Atlantis Prep, Audi of Eatontown, Beach Front North Day Book Club, Bel-Ray, Borough of Long Branch, Bria Disc Golf, Brookdale Community College, Brookdale Public Radio, CCMSI, Chris Smith Realty, Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions, Coffee Corral, Colonial Terrace Protective Association, Commvault, Comp-X Medical Management Services, CRA, Curchin Group, Deal School National Honors Society, The Dittmar Agency, Dugan Elementary School, Early Learning Center at Manalapan School, Eatontown Police, Endoscopy Center of Red Bank, Family First Urgent Care, First Financial Credit Union, Fragomen Worldwide, Freehold Hyundai, French & Parello, Fresh Personal Training, Friends for a Cause, Fusion Recruiting Labs, Garden State Skating Club, Haircrafters Salon, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Holmdel Fast Pitch 10/12 U Team, Holmdel Village School, Howell Rebel Football, HUB International Northeast, Interworld Highway, JADDE Financial Solutions LLC, Jersey Shore PACU Nurses, Jersey Shore Women’s Club, JGS Insurance, JSUMC, KidsGive, Law Office of Pamela Hargrove, Lightbridge Academy, Little Chief Learning Station, Little Silver Animal Hospital, Livoti’s Old World Market, Marlboro Elementary School, Menlo Park Mall, Middletown Girl Scout Troop, Molly Pitcher Stitchers, Monmouth Medical Center Foundation, Monmouth University Honors Society, Monmouth University PA Program, Moser Taboada Law Firm, Mother Runner Events LLC, Natural Healthcare Center, Nestlé, NJ Department of Labor, Oakhurst Daisy Troop, Ocean Pointe Realtors, Old Bridge Dental, Our Team Fitness, Phoenix, Port Jersey Logistics, PRA Health Sciences, Prodigy Search, Push the Envelope PR, Range of Motion Spine & Sports Care, Relentless Fitness & Training, Revenue Guard, RMB, Robert Half, Robin Gazzara Music Studio, Rockefeller Capital Management, Rumson Country Day School, Rumson Public Works, Rumson/Fair Haven Psychology Club, Salon Jenea, Serenity Hair Lounge, Shore Regional High School National Honors Society, Shrewsbury Garden Club, Single Throw Internet Marketing, Stop & Shop, Sunrise at Wall, Tarantin Industries, The Pilates Project, Trinity Solar, Victor Zando Foundation, Wall Township Girl Scouts, Walmart, Washauer Electric, West Freehold School and WINGS.