By Cheryl Conway
Lots of boxes and tears were received from New View Media Group’s annual clothing and toy drive held last month.
From Nov. through Dec. 20, the monthly newspaper company reached out to communities in its coverage areas requesting new unwrapped toys and new clothing for newborn children through age 14. Clothing items collected included t-shirts, socks, pants and winter necessities such as hats, coats, gloves and scarves. Gift cards were also donated.
Organizers are so thankful for all of this year’s donations.
“We received an overwhelming amount this year,” says drive organizer Mary Lalama of Flanders, co-publisher of New View Media Group. “Boxes and boxes,” that was too many to count.
Like previous drives she held, Lalama set up several drop off locations to make it more convenient to contributors.
Items were left at the following locations: New View Media Group in Budd Lake;
Weis Supermarkets in Flanders; Philly Pretzel in Hackettstown; HomeTown Hardware in Hackettstown; and Fresco Mexican in Chester.
Her fourth drive held, Lalama says she received a lot of donations this year, especially Legos.
“We received tons of Legos,” she says.
Instead of giving to certain organizations, most of the contributions went to individuals in need.
“I donated all of the stuff, with the exception of two small boxes,” Lalama says which she has plans to give to a battered women’s shelter organization called Strengthen Our Sisters.
“Parents that saw the article called me and I set up times for pick up at our office, and I also delivered to four families,” says Lalama.
“We gave to 28 kids this year, our largest amount to date,” adds Lalama. “We give about six to eight items per child.”
Her motive, “to help struggling families and bring a smile to a child’s face,” is
becoming a habit for Lalama who recently spearheaded the first community Thanksgiving Dinner in Mt. Olive Twp. on Nov. 24, 2016, with her husband Joe Nicastro, co-publisher of New View Media Group.
Reactions she witnessed this year is only encouraging her to do more.
“Tears, and more tears from the single struggling moms,” Lalama describes as she handed over the collected items. “They were all so happy and grateful to be able to have basic necessities for their kids,” like “hats, scares and gloves, and other clothing.
As her next endeavor, Lalama says “I am looking into starting a non-profit which will provide area children with free clothes. I want to call it Alyssa’s closet,” named after her late niece. “I got the idea from some of the moms who just wanted clothes for their children because they can’t afford them.”