ELIZABETH, NJ - For the 10th consecutive year, the Annual Three Kings Day Celebration was held at Trinitas Regional Medical Center to support the children of the Child/Adolescent Behavioral Health Program and the New Point Specialty Program.
Inspired by her grandfather who emigrated from Puerto Rico to Elizabeth about 60 years ago to pick Jersey tomatoes, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano brought the Three Kings Day tradition to Trinitas 10 years ago. Typically observed on Jan. 6 in Latin America and Puerto Rico, it commemorates the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus during the height of the Christmas season.
It's appropriate given all the sponsors that make the celebration possible and bring presents for the children as young as age 5 to age 18, who are being treated for behavioral health at Trinitas.
"This year we have the best toy collection ever," said Assemblywoman Quijano in her address as host of the event. "I have angels in my life and they make sure the stage is filled with toys. This is always a fun day for the kids, as well as for all our community supporters who donate gifts and their time to support the children. Many of these children live at the hospital and don't experience a traditional holiday like those more fortunate."
Unwrapped gifts and gift bags were transported from Assemblywoman Quijano's office to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in a truck supplied by Bayway World of Liquors and driven by Luis Matos.
"A great way to show the Holiday spirit is by giving back and bringing a smile to the faces of children who are patients at Trinitas Regional Medical Center," said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. "I would like to thank Assemblywoman Annette Quijano for continuing to put on this annual Three Kings Day event each year."
Three years ago, Alfonso Lopez, a Trinitas Board of Trustees member, got his grandsons Joseph and Matthew Galgano involved. Joseph (pictured with Lopez) is a senior at Summit High School and Matthew is a junior at Indiana University. This year, they rallied the support of local chain stores and were able to obtain toys, gifts and winter clothing worth $7,000.
"Our annual Three Kings Day celebration keeps getting better each year and we are so very grateful to the Assemblywoman and everyone who participated and contributed to this program," said Nadine Brechner, Chief Development Officer and Vice President of the Trinitas Health Foundation.
Before the children were called according to their ages to the decorative gift area to make their choices, Quijano thanked the following official sponsors, donors/supporters and individuals who adopted specific children, including:
Elizabeth Avenue Partnership
Elizabeth FMBA - Local 9
Groundworks Elizabeth and Jonathan Phillips
Hispanic Law Enforcement Association of Union County, Louis Demondo and Lilian Caparruva
International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO and Richard Suarez
New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association
New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association
New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association and Wayne Blanchard
Ristorante Da Benito
Marta Fernandez and Silvia Fernandez
Joseph and Matthew Galgano
Lawrence Family Foundation Inc.
El Lechon de Negron
Alfonso J. Lopez
Magic Fountain and Barbara Fields
Mark Twain Diner
Mr. Discount Dry Cleaners
Parador Rojo Restaurant LLC
Cheryl Quinio-Blodgett & Friends
State Farm Insurance and Angel Rodríguez
Assemblywoman Quijano and Brechner also welcomed and thanked friends of the community who attended the event and brought toys and clothing for the children.