Students from 33 schools in Sussex and Northern Warren Counties spent the last few weeks of 2019 collecting more than 5,800 new, unwrapped toys in a friendly Stuff the Stocking competition to benefit the Season of Hope Toy Drive. Each year, the winning school takes home the coveted Stuff the Stocking trophy, along with a monetary donation to their school’s activity fund. Second and third place winners also receive donations for their schools. Pope John XXIII Middle School was the resounding victor in the 2019 contest, with 958 toys collected. Second place honors went to the Hardyston Middle School, which collected 710 toys, with Green Hills School coming in at third place with 617 toys. Honorable mention went to fourth place winner Allamuchy (502). Other schools which collected more than 100 toys included Pope John High School, Reverend Brown Elementary School, North Warren Regional, Newton High School, Warren County Technical School, Blairstown Elementary School, Kittatinny Regional, Lafayette Elementary School, Vernon High School and Wantage Elementary School.
The Season of Hope Toy Drive is a joint effort coordinated by Project Self-Sufficiency, along with its partners First Hope Bank, Gravity DesignWorks, iHeartMedia, Inc., Intercar Mercedes Benz, the New Jersey Herald, Pass it Along, the Printing Center, Off Shore Marine, Selective Insurance Company of America, Service Electric Broadband Cable, Shop Rite, Sparta Train Station, Stocker Bus Company, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Sussex County Community College, Sussex Honda, and the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. New, unwrapped toys and gift are provided to children in need from Sussex County, as well as residents of Northern Warren County. In 2019, more than 2,300 children received new gifts from the Season of Hope Toy Shop.
“The holidays can be a challenging time for many families in our area,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “The overwhelming response by these students demonstrates to the families served by Season of Hope Toy Shop that the community cares about them. Having children select toys for other children is a special way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season. We are grateful to these students and their schools for supporting this effort and making the 2019 effort the most successful Stuff the Stocking contest to date.”
Participating schools in the 2019 Stuff the Stocking contest included Allamuchy Township, Alpine Montessori, Blair Academy, Blairstown Elementary, Byram Intermediate, Byram Lakes, Clifton Lawrence, Florence Burd, Frankford Elementary, Franklin Borough, Fredon Elementary, Glen Meadows, Green Hills, Hardyston Elementary, Hardyston Middle, Hilltop Country Day School, Kittatinny Regional, Knowlton, Lafayette Elementary, Long Pond, Lounsberry Hollow, McKeown, Mountain Villa, Newton High School, North Warren Regional, Northern Hills Academy, Ogdensburg, Pope John High School, Pope John Middle School, Reverend Brown, Rolling Hills, Sandyston Walpack, Stillwater, Valley Road, Vernon High School, Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Wantage Elementary, and Warren County Technical School.
Information about the Season of Hope Toy Drive and the programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency are available at www.projectselfsufficiency.org or by calling 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500.