Dear Editor:

Kids for Kids a Mindfulness Movement, a Westfield-based organization, is dedicated to spreading mindfulness to children within the community. Particularly this holiday season, we wanted to promote mindfulness of others and inspire giving to those in need. Here at Kids for Kids, we set out a goal to collect 500 therapeutic toys for the children of Wynona’s House in Newark, NJ, by placing drop boxes around the local community. 

Wynona's House is a non-profit agency that serves children that have been abused or neglected. Kids for Kids strives to introduce mindfulness to children, but it also focuses on kids involvement in the community. We encourage kids helping kids by involving them in community service to benefit other children.

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With the help of several donors and local business, we are proud to announce that our first ever toy drive was a sparkling success!

The reason we wanted to write this letter was to express our appreciation for everyone who donated to the toy drive. We are overwhelmed by the generosity that we was fortunate enough to witness. Over 500 toys were donated to benefit the children of Wynona's House and close to $800 was donated via the Facebook Giving Tuesday event.

Sofi's Color Lounge, Ferraro's Restaurant and Athleta in Westfield and Little Shop of Comics and Salon Four in Scotch Plains and QuickChek in Fanwood and &Grain in Garwood were so kind to participate as drop box locations. I was astonished by the contribution by several local businesses to benefit the staff of Wynona's House, who worked so diligently in making the childrens' holiday a magical one.

Christa Teevan of dōTERRA essential oils, Ferraro’s Restaurant, Kilwins, Sofi's Color Lounge, Bluemercury and Lunchbox of Westfield along with Massage Envy and European Wax Center of Garwood each put together gifts baskets and in total donated close to $1,000 in gift cards for services for the staff of Wynona’s House. 

The owner/founder of Kids for Kids, Scotch Plains resident Annette Ferrigno, is passionate about helping organizations that service children at risk of abuse and neglect.

“Wynona’s House services some of the most vulnerable children throughout New Jersey, to be able to provide toys to these children was a joy and one of our best gifts this holiday season,” Ferrigno said. “Seeing kids band together to help kids less fortunate than themselves was inspiring. And, more than that, helping the staff with their own self-care will go a long way in caring for the children as well – a well-cared for worker takes better care of others.” 

One of our first donations was from the Di Pietro and Murray family of Ferraro's Restaurant in Westfield, NJ.  Giuliana Di Pietro, age 7, and Giuseppe Di Pietro, age 10, took a trip to Toys R Us the first week the toy drive began.  Like many kids would be, Giuseppe was so excited to buy himself a new Nerf gun he had been saving for that he brought along his very own money.

When he learned about our toy drive on that shopping trip, Giuseppe was so inspired to share with the other kids that he handed over his treasured $100 to instead spend on toys for the children of Wynona's House. We were so touched by Giuseppe's actions and so grateful for all that the Di Pietro and Murray family contributed. This was a true example of the spirit of giving!

Head to our social media pages to read more stories about some of the amazing kids, families and businesses who donated to the toy drive. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter as KidsforKids_ and Instagram as mindfulukidsforkids.

Our next wellness retreat is scheduled for Jan. 27 for girls ages 16-20.  Registration closes Jan. 16 so sign her up today!  Go to mindfulkidsforkids.com or call 917-865-9577 for more information.

Annette Ferrigno & Marissa Mastrocola