Last year, the South Orange/Maplewood School District Parenting Center provided holiday toys to 110 families in need in South Orange and Maplewood. Parenting Center director Karen Weiland expected an increase in demand this year due to the tough economy.
But the rate of increase has surprised her—138 families thus far have requested or been referred to receive toys through the annual Parenting Center Holiday Toy Drive. Local businesses have responded by helping out.
Scriveners in Maplewood and Sparkhouse Kids in South Orange both have collection boxes at their store locations. In addition, Fringe Salon has sent an e-mail promoting the toy drive to their customers and hosted a toy drive collection site on Dec. 9. The entire staff of Fringe also pooled their cash to buy two large bags filled with toys. The donations came from Kim Hammer, Catie Friel, Mag Johnston, Athena Del-Valle, Donna Ferrer, Christina Wojcicki, Leslie Byron and Denise Kosiakowski.
Laura Trimarco of Trimarco Jewelers on Springfield Avenue brought four heaping bags of toys to the Fringe collection bin.
Also on Dec. 9, Patch employees—including Marie Brattberg, product manager; Mary Mann, Maplewood editor; and Joe Ornegri, New Jersey regional publisher—collected toys from businesses and distributed fliers encouraging local residents and shoppers to contribute to the drive.
The Parenting Center Holiday Toy Drive continues through Dec. 14. The Center will be accepting toys at their headquarters at 525 Academy St. Drop-off bins are also in place at Scriveners, Sparkhouse Toys and all elementary schools throughout the district.