SUMMIT, NJ - More than 300 low-income families and senior citizens from Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights -- referred by local social service agencies -- will now get to experience the joy of holiday giving without financial burden, as The Santa Claus Shop recently opened its doors for the 48th year at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summit.

The shop’s guests personally selected gifts for their family, which included a household item, new clothing, hat and mittens, and a new toy and book for each child.  Each family was also given a Shop Rite gift card, and gift wrapping was done on the premises by local volunteers.  The annual event operates solely on the monetary donations -- accepted throughout the year -- from area residents, local businesses and charitable organizations.  
Shop clients were treated to breakfast, desserts and coffee compliments of the Grand Summit Hotel, Natale’s Bakery, Manhattan Bagel and Dunkin Donuts in Summit and New Providence; sandwiches provided by Hoboken Farms and Zappia’s, and pizza donated by Village Trattoria,  Doria’s Pizzeria and Joe’s Pizzeria in Summit. 

This year’s generous donors include AT&T Pioneers; Color Me Summit; Edible Arrangements; Haven Savings Bank; The Holly Collection; Summit Elks Lodge 1246; Girl Scout Troops, Summit; Mountain Park Elementary School; The Personalized Party; Restoration Hardware Employees, Short Hills; The Summit Police Department; The Junior League of Summit Larks; The Summit Junior Fortnightly Club; The Bar Method of Summit; Kirusa, Inc.; The Summit Luminary Fund; The Summit Running Company; Stella and Dot; Taylor Rental, Berkeley Heights; The Toy Professor; Vita Organic Foods; Westy Self Storage, Chatham and Summit PAL.

Many members of the community, and local businesses, made extra-special contributions that supported the event, including:

-  The staff managers at Walmart in Watchung, who helped facilitate the purchase of gift items for this year’s shop and provided additional dedicated staff during the shopping day to make for an organized checkout process.  Walmart also donated warehouse space to store the gift items prior to the event. 

-  New Providence residents Allison Smith, Laura Lattman, Jama Vitale and Katie Forbes, who held a luncheon toy drive at the William Paca Club. 
 
-  The past chairwomen of the Santa Claus Shop, who hosted a coffee and toy drive in Summit.

-  The Spielman family, who personally fundraised and selected each book title for the shop.

-  Westy Self Storage in Chatham, which donated trucks to transport items and also provided overnight storage.

-  Shop Rite in Springfield, which donated large bags to carry home the presents.

-  Local families, who donated new hats and mittens through various school drives.

-  St. John’s Lutheran Church, which allows the Santa Claus Shop to host this event in their auditorium each year. 

The 2014 Santa Claus Shop was chaired by Summit residents, Amanda Grainer, Stacy O’Connor, Lisa Parkes and Sarah Roberts, and co-chaired by Allison Busam, Katie Darcy, Elizabeth Fagan, and Kelly Iacovelli.

Those wishing to support the The Santa Claus Shop via a monetary donation are asked to make checks payable to SHIP, with "Santa Claus Shop" noted on the check memo line, and mailed to the Santa Claus Shop, P.O. Box 119, Summit, NJ 07901.  Online donations are also available at summitsantaclausshop.com.