MADISON, NJ, -- The Madison Eagle Christmas Fund (MECF) will continue to bring joy to many in town for the holiday season with the tradition of “neighbors helping neighbors.”

 A proud Madison tradition that has assisted thousands of Madison’s families and seniors for 45 years, MECF has begun collecting donations to help brighten the holidays for Madison residents in need.  The MECF is a community effort with civics and religious groups, merchants, volunteers and individual donors teaming up to help neighbors with financial challenges. Last year, the fund assisted 57 families and 70 senior citizens, providing holiday gifts such as coats, toys, books, grocery and gas gift cards for close to 300 Madison residents.

MECF accepts both cash donations as well as gifts collected through area businesses and organizations. Tax deductible cash donations, essential to the MECF mission, can be made through the insert provided in the October electric bill, by posting a check payable to the Madison Eagle Christmas Fund, PO Box 2, Madison, NJ 07940 or directly through the website at www.madisoneaglechristmasfund.org/monetary-donations/.

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Madison merchants join the effort by serving as collection sites or providing discounts on gift cards that are purchased from the MECF. Several area merchants, the Madison Library and St. Vincent Martyr School are now collecting donations of NEW books, sporting equipment, school and art supplies (such as crayons and coloring books) for children up to 12 years old as well as gloves, hats and mittens.  Gifts for “tweens” are especially needed. Toy collection sites include the following: Alfred’s Sports Shop, Coldwell Banker, Fulton Bank, GameChanger Fitness Madison, Lakeland Bank, The Max Challenge, Provident Bank, Tons of Toys, Sugar Rush, Weichert Realtors.  Adams Dental will be collecting new gloves of all sizes, St. Vincent Martyr School will be collecting new gloves, school and art supplies, and the Madison Library also will have a box for the collection of new books for children, teens and adults.  

To make donations even easier, customers can purchase a toy or gift at three merchants —  Alfred’s, Sugar Rush and Tons of Toys — and donate while in the store for one-stop shopping.  Cleaners Advantage also will pick up news toys by arrangement. All collection boxes will be in place until December 11, 2019.

Many town businesses allow the MECF to purchase gift cards for the approved families and seniors at a discounted rate, stretching raised funds even further.  These merchants include: Alfred’s Sports Shop of 32 Main St.; Ann’s Nails of 65 Main St.; the Bagel Chateau of 45 Main St.; Bottle Hill Tavern of 13 Waverly Place, Burlington Coat at 240 Route 10 in East Hanover; Crowley Cupcakes of 9 Waverly Place; Drip Coffee of 34 Main St.; Jungle Juice of 67 Main St.; La La Land Hair and Beauty Room of 36 Main St.; the Madison Pharmacy of 66 Main St.; Main Street Subs of 187 Main St.; the Marc Anthony Salon of 32 Lincoln Place; McCool’s Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt of 26 Main St; the Nautilus Diner of 97 Main St.; Romanelli’s Pizza and Italian Eatery of 42 Lincoln Place; the Stop & Shop of 133 Main St.; Suburban Shop Shoes of 5 Waverly Place; Sugar Rush of 10 Waverly Place; T&J Sunoco at 31 Kings Rd; Tons of Toys of 64 Main St. and Weenies of 145 Main St.

The MECF raises about $30,000 annually, and relies solely on donations and volunteers to cover operating expenses.  To learn more about MECF and other donation opportunities in town, please visit the webpage at www.madisoneaglechristmasfund.org and like the group on Facebook.