UNION, NJ – Students, girl scouts, a soccer team, Union police officers and firefighters, Union High School Spanish Honor Society members, Police Explorers, kids and adults came out Sunday morning for the Union Police Department’s 24th Annual ‘Santa in Blue’ toy drive sorting and wrapping event.
“We came to help last year with our girl scout troop,” said volunteer wrapper Jean White. “This year we brought members from our soccer team. We just want to come out and support this cause.” Fellow wrapper Sofia Ortiz-Almeida said working for this worthy cause also helps the kids appreciate what they have and “it helps them bond and connect with each other”.
“I wanted to come and help kids who are less fortunate,” said Amanda, 14, a Union High School student. “It makes me feel good to help people.”
Well over 2,000 toys were donated, said Union police officer Mike Loguidice. The donations were collected via drop off points at township banks, Town Hall, Union’s police and fire stations, and all the schools in town. Loguidice said Union police officers will distribute the gifts to Union families in need, identified by Union school personnel.
“This year we’ve had a great event,” said Loguidice. “We have an abundance of volunteers who have come to help today.” Loguidice said the volunteers collect gifts for the gender and age of a child and bring them to a wrapping station.
Jaydalin, with her Kawameeh Middle School friends Jasline and Amelia, said, “we came today to help children in need, and we think it’s really, really special.”
In addition to the collection bins located around town, Loguidice said businesses all around town also donated toys, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, BCB Bank, Harrison Research Laboratory, Joe’s Place, Van Gogh’s Ear, Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union, Ray Catena, Planet Honda, ConnectOne Bank, and PetSmart.
The collection bins will continue to be available to accept donations through the weekend (Dec. 15). Drop-off locations are:
- Union Police Department lobby, 981 Caldwell Avenue
- Union Fire headquarters, 1 Bond Drive
- Town Hall lobby, 1976 Morris Avenue
- All Township of Union school lobbies