Annual Christmas Giveaway Also Will Benefit Newark Public Schools, University Hospital
The Mercy House, a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office, will distribute approximately 1,000 new and unwrapped toys to families in need during its annual Christmas Toy Giveaway on Friday, December 17, at 11 a.m.
Parents who stop by The Mercy House’s location in Newark’s Clinton Hill section (620 Clinton Ave.) will receive one toy per child, along with a small gift such as crayons. The gifts are intended for boys and girls aged 17 and under. Families are encouraged not to bring children to the event to preserve the element of surprise on Christmas.
“No child should ever wake up on Christmas morning without a toy, especially if they believe in Santa,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Respect Life Office. “But many families we serve can’t afford to buy Christmas presents because they’re facing hard times. That’s why it’s so important to us to make sure every child gets a toy. We want to make a difference.”
Toys were generously donated by archdiocesan parishes, schools, and parishioners. Outerbridge CrossFit of Staten Island and members of the Upper Montclair Country Club contributed hundreds of gifts, as well. This year, the giveaway will include trendy fidget toys as well as popular building blocks, sports items, and brand-name dolls.
The Mercy House also will send hundreds of toys to two Newark public schools nearby that requested help. Additionally, parents helped by the Obstetrics Department of University Hospital in Newark were invited to attend the event.
“We are called to serve as Catholics, and that’s what The Mercy House is here to do,” Riley said. “Our mission is to help those in need, including the distribution of daily essentials such as clothing, food and baby items. Giving a child a toy at Christmas is just as important.”
This is the fourth year The Mercy House has held its Christmas Toy Giveaway, a tradition that began when the center first opened in 2018. Along with the Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, the gift initiative is The Mercy House’s biggest event, with toys collected year-round to make it possible.
The Mercy House is open year-round on Tuesdays and Fridays to provide food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing for individuals and families in need. Learn more by visiting www.rcan.org/respect-life/mercy-house.
Featured image: Mercy House volunteers provided toys to more than 200 families last year in Newark. (Photo Archdiocese of Newark/Jai Agnish)