ELIZABETH, NJ - State Assemblywoman Annette Quijano celebrated her July 4 birthday by donating toys on Thursday to organizations that help children.

The assemblywoman visited organizations including the YWCA of Union County, the Salvation Army of Elizabeth, Union County Child Advocacy Center and the Trinitas Medical Center Outpatient Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit.

“We have a lot of children in our community who don’t get the chance to receive a brand new toy for their birthday or other times throughout the year,” Quijano said in a statement. “And, I remember what it was like growing up and that warm feeling of knowing that something brand new was just for me –that always made me feel special.

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“I want every child to have that same feeling because every child needs to know how important and loved they are,” she said, adding that she hopes others donate to local organizations too.

Some of the gifts were personally purchased by the Quijano, said the assemblywoman’s Chief of Staff Shane Derris. Others were donated by local community sponsors that Quijano partners with. 

Quijano is a representative for the 20th Legislative District, which encompasses parts of Elizabeth, Hillside, Union and Roselle. 

She planned to give out the gifts earlier last week, but the state budget negotiations in Trenton that led to a government shutdown pushed those plans back a few days. 

“I wish I could have brought all these gifts on Monday but I needed to be down in the Assembly fighting to ensure that the children and other residents of the 20th Legislative District had a voice standing up for our shared values," the assemblywoman said in a statement. 

Additionally, Quijano visited Josephine’s Place, an organization on Elizabeth Avenue devoted to the empowerment of women. She also stopped at Bernice’s Place, an after school and summer program on Division Street for homeless and at-risk children.

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