NUTLEY, NJ - For about 20 years, the Chieffo family hosted holiday party toy drive parties to benefit children battling cancer and others in need. The 2019 Toy Drive ends with a giant block party on Gerard Rd. this Saturday evening.
The annual drive shuts down Gerard Rd. for one special night of music, cocoa, and a visit from Santa himself. This year, local elves who wish to donate but cannot make it to the Dec. 14 block party, can drop off their gifts at one of several locations around town. Santa has made arrangements for other elves to pick up the toys around town and deliver them to the block party.
If you are unable to make it the night of, please consider dropping of new unused toys at any of the following Nutley locations from now until the toy drive:
The block party itself is an outdoor event, with hot chocolate, cookies, a popcorn machine and all manner of holiday treats. Mike and Michelle Chieffo's home serves as home base for the party. Officers from the Nutley Police Department close off Gerard Rd. allowing the party to spill into the street. The neighbors also got into the celebration by having their Christmas lights and outdoor inflatable decorations on from dusk through the entire night
Mike Chieffo explained that the event really brings the community together. Last year, families, some known to the Cheiffos and others who heard about the event, arrived with new toys in hand. The event started in Belleville years ago, and came to Nutley about five years ago. Mike, who lost his father to leukemia when he was 12, hosts the event as a personal tribute to his dad. The beneficiaries of the party include Clara Maas Pediatrics, a Women's Shelter and NY Presbyterian Pediatric Cancer Center.
As guests arrived, music filled the air with classic and modern Christmas music. Mike is the owner of Nutley's DJ MC Entertainment. so the sound system was perfectly suited to an outdoor event. When music wasn't playing, Gerry Pearce took the microphone to perform live holiday classics in the style of Frank and Dean. When not singing, Pearce is the bakery manager at Stop and Shop on Allwood Rd.
Neighbors allowed the Chieffos to park rented box trucks in their driveways to collect the toys.
Mike and Michelle Chieffo told TAPinto Nutley that the annual party will continue for many years to come.
Photos are from the 2018 Toy Drive Block Party Celebration Block Party
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