For weeks, Project Help volunteers raised funds and collected toys and winter apparel for military members and their families. The effort, called "Operation Santa Claus," was a success due to the generosity of hundreds of people.
In December the bus was filled with toys and games before it arrived at the Stanhope School. There veteran families enjoyed a Christmas Party and the Center for Prevention’s Military Families Night Out.
When dinner was done and the parents had filled huge bags of toys for their children there was still a ton of toys remaining. So the toys were loaded back on the bus before it headed back to the storage location in Newton.
Bright and early the next morning, the team showed up to load the bus with mountains of men’s winter clothes. The Project Help elves, complete with their Santa hats, hopped on the bus to make their deliveries.
First stop was the Hope for Vets transitional housing location on the Lyons VA campus.
“With the help of some staffers we off loaded at least 75 large bags of winter clothing, many new winter coats, shoes, all types of outerwear, jeans, sweaters, hoodies and toiletries”, said Sandy Mitchell, Executive Director of Project Help. Toys were distributed as well.
The next stop was the women’s ward to deliver the bulk of the toys. There were so many toys, they had to call the East Orange VA to come and pick up half of them.
Then they went to the Goryeb Pediatric Cancer Center at Morristown hospital, where another mountain of toys were offloaded and put under the tree in the lobby where the kids would come to get toys on Christmas.
Santa’s Elves were, Jeremy Curcio USMC retired and VP of Project Help, Karl Broton of Broton Contracting, a faithful volunteer, Judie McFarland, retired nurse and soon to be board member of Project Help and Sandy Mitchell, Executive Director of Project Help.
To be a part of events like this, visit www.projecthelp.us and send them a message or simply call Project Help at 973-875-2068 office or 862-266-9726 cell. If you can help pay for the gas and maintenance of the bus, visit the web site. Project Help is an all volunteer, tax exempt 501c3 nonprofit serving veterans in NJ and FL.