The needler in the haystack.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Time running out on opportunities to brighten local families' holidays

Plainfielders have a tradition of opening their hearts and their pocketbooks to the community's neediest during the Christmas holidays. Religious and social service organizations throughout the city solicit toys and other gifts to brighten the holidays for as many families as possible. In addition, feeding and clothing programs -- which are being heavily stressed by the current economic recession -- look to the kindness of strangers to help stock and replenish food pantries and clothes-closets.

If you have not already made a gift through your religious organization or other connection -- or even if you have -- please consider among the following additional opportunities.

Thank you! and know that any gift will fill an urgent need. -- Dan

  • (OPPORTUNITY EXTENDED) DQ Drive for Daybreak Kids: Dairy Queen's Donna Albanese is spearheading a drive for 329 children of incarcerated parents. For its holiday party, Plainfield's Daybreak Community Center needs new or gently used toys, sports gear, clothing, shoes, books and bikes. Items may be dropped off at the Dairy Queen (1367 South Avenue) before 3 PM, Sunday, December 20. Donna reports the #1 request from kids is for bikes. Bike donations may be dropped off at her house no later than Sunday (8 Pitching Way, Scotch Plains, leave in drive if no one home), where her husband will make necessary repairs and deliver them. Those wishing to bake for the party should call Donna for dropoff information (the party for the kids is Monday, December 21, at Rose of Sharon Church, 825 West 7th Street, 6 - 9 PM). Info: (908) 755-5994.

  • Food Donations Needed: Consider donating to your local religious organization's feeding program or food pantry, or give to the COMMUNITY FOOD BANK OF NJ: Accepts dry, refrigerated or frozen food. Distributes food to charities throughout the state. Location: 31 Evans Terminal Road, Hillside, N.J. Info: (908) 355-3663; or visit

  • Ends Today. Holiday Toy Drive by Sleepy Hollow Realtors. Once again, Joe Burris, John Nash and the Sleepy Hollow Realtors team are collecting toys for area charities. Bring your donation of a new, unwrapped toy for a boy or girl BY FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, to Sleepy Hollow Realtors, 1304 South Avenue. Info: (908) 822-0550.

  • Ends Today. Holiday Toy Drive by King's Temple. The church seeks new, unwrapped toys to distribute to Plainfield children at the holidays. Donations may be dropped off at Harvest Radio, 120 West 7th Street, Ste 202, Monday thru Friday, 8 AM - 4 PM. Info: Toya Kirkwood, (908) 757-6700 or (908) 753-5825. The toys will be distributed at the 7th Annual Candle Lighting service on Saturday at 7 PM at the church, 1020 West 7th Street. A light dinner follows the service. More info here.

  • Today through Thursday - December 24. Together AsOne Adopt-a-Family Holiday Celebration. This network of Black Entrepreneurs Who Care has adopted two families from Plainfield Action Services, for whom they are gathering gifts to make a very special Christmas. Gifts or donations via PayPal are needed. For full details, check AsOne's website here. Info: (908) 755-8220 or email

  • Today thru Sunday - Dec 20. All Day. BORDERS Gift Wrap Benefiting Plainfield Area Humane Society. Shop at Borders in Watchung Square Mall and have your book or other item gift-wrapped by volunteers from PAHS. Proceeds benefit the Rock Avenue facility.

  • Saturday - December 19. 7 PM. New Dems Holiday Potluck and Canned Food Drive. Mix and mingle with new friends and old and celebrate the winter holiday season! Bring a dish to share and one or two nonperishable food items for donation to Plainfield's local feeding programs. Food, fun, music -- maybe even carolling. At the home of Adrian and Amelia Mapp, 535 West 8th Street.

-- Dan Damon

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