WOODLAND PARK, NJ - This holiday season, a number of charitable efforts were held in the local schools. Both Beatrice Gilmore and Memorial Schools took part in the annual Giving Tree initiative for the Family Reach Foundation. 

This is the 15th year that teachers have organized this charitable event. At Beatrice Gilmore, the Giving Tree was founded by Mrs. Addino, continued by then third grade teacher Mrs. Barreto when Mrs. Addino retired in 2010, and now run by Mrs. Wilson and Miss Webb. When Mrs. Barreto moved to Memorial, she launched the initiative there.

The Family Reach Foundation is a national non-profit dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of cancer. It provides immediate financial assistance, education and navigation to families before they hit critical breaking points.

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Over $2,000 in gift cards were given to the foundation at separate presentations at the schools on Dec. 20 to founder Marilyn Morrello, who was on hand with her husband Rick and family relations coordinator Ravit Gilletti.

Mrs. Morrello spoke to the students, thanking them and their families for their generosity. 

During the event at BG, teachers read “A New Coat For Anna” to the students. The story details a mother's
dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna's mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. The book carries a message that ordinary can become so precious in times of turmoil. Just as the Giving Tree initiative allowed the students to help kids in need, the story reminds them to always think of others.