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Mercy House provides toys to hundreds of families in need

The holiday spirit was in full display Friday at Mercy House, an outreach program operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, located in Newark's Clinton Hill section. Community residents turned out in droves as Mercy House orchestrated its third-annual toy drive, during which more than a thousand toys were distributed to families in need throughout the community.

Nine volunteers, under the supervision of Mercy House Director Cheryl Riley, sorted piles of games, puzzles, dolls, and hundreds of other donated toys. Wearing masks and paying careful attention to CDC-recommended protocols for social-distancing, the volunteers provided toys to more than 200 families who lined up in cold weather to participate in the event.

In recent weeks, Mercy House also organized an annual coat drive, and distributed more than 160 turkeys and bags of food during the week of Thanksgiving.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many hard-working Newark residents, and the need for support and outreach has never been greater," said Riley. "The Christmas season can make these challenges especially difficult, and we want to make sure that the children of our community have something under the tree from Santa this year."

Riley added that this is one of many outreach programs being coordinated the Archdiocese of Newark this holiday season.

Mercy House offers a variety of programs for families in need, as well as individuals that include expectant mothers, victims of abuse, and those struggling with addiction. More information is available at