Local elementary, middle schools and high schools have entered a friendly competition to donate toys to the Season of Hope toy drive to benefit children in Sussex and Northern Warren counties.  A decorated school bus will swoop down on each institution in mid-December and cart the items away for distribution to local families.  The winning school will receive a monetary contribution toward its activities fund, along with a trophy which will have to be defended the following year.  Runners up will also receive monetary contributions.  Schools involved in the competition include Blair Academy, Cedar Mountain Primary School, Clifton E. Lawrence School, Green Hills School, Halsted Middle School, Kittatinny Regional High School, Marian E. McKeown Elementary School, Merriam Avenue Elementary School, Montague Elementary School, Newton High School, Ogdensburg School, Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School, Rolling Hills Primary School, Sandyston-Walpack School, Sparta High School, Stillwater Township School, Sussex Middle School, Walnut Ridge Primary School, Wantage Elementary School and Valley Road School.


Dr. Ken Greene, Superintendent of the Newton School District, comments.  “This kind of friendly competition for a great cause is a lesson we want all of our children to experience: that you tend to get out of life what you put into it."  Organizers hope to encourage each local school to collect hundreds or even thousands of gift items over the course of the next few weeks.

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The Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive involves a consortium of local social service agencies and businesses who have banded together to collect toys and other items for low-income families in the area.  Led by Project Self-Sufficiency, the group includes the Chatterbox Drive-In, iHeartMedia, Intercar Mercedes Benz, Pass it Along, Selective Insurance Company of America, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Sussex Honda, The New Jersey Herald, and The Printing Center.  The group hopes to collect more than 20,000 items for distribution to low-income Sussex and northern Warren County families in mid-December. 


“Having children involved in helping other children to enjoy the holiday season is very important to us,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “We are very excited to have all of these individual schools come together in support of the low-income families in our area.”


Those who wish to contribute to the Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive are encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Gift items will be gratefully received at Project Self-Sufficiency, which is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton, Monday – Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. or Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Additional drop-off sites will be added in the coming weeks.  Donations are requested by December 16th in order to allow ample time for the items to be distributed to needy families.   For more information, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.