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Call it Essex County College’s “Day of Giving!”
On Saturday, December 15, more than 3,000 people, most of them local children, filled the College’s Gymnasium to partake in a pair of events that truly celebrated the spirit of the holidays.
Most of the youngsters and their parents, along with a large team of volunteers, celebrated the season at Joi’s Angel Christmas Carnival. Nearby in the College’s Child Development Center (CDC), over 50 CDC parents received holiday presents from the Christmas is for Children organization.
“This was a true collaboration between the College and these two wonderful organizations,” said Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs. “It was heartwarming to see the eyes of so many children light up our gymnasium,” he added.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in these two programs,” said Dr. Kirkland. “Events such as these clearly show what we can do working together.”
Joi’s Angels, an East Orange based organization founded by Mark and Joi Smith, sponsored the Christmas Carnival. A wide spectrum of corporations, organizations and residents provided donations of toys, cosmetic products, hygiene products, shoes, and other items for distribution at the charitable event. A number of fun activities transformed the Gym into a memorable carnival.
Among the donors was Omega Psi Phi – Eta Pi Chapter, Montclair, which donated 35 bicycles. The all-important refreshments were donated by such companies as 7-Eleven with 100 pizzas, and Bello’s Restaurant.
Meanwhile, in the CDC, parents of the pre-school students were receiving toys from the Basking Ridge-based Christmas is for Children. The non-profit utilizes a unique concept in which children receive three toys. That breaks down to one toy that a child wants; another that the child needs, and the third is an educational toy.
“These two events are outstanding examples of what Essex County College has been about for 50 years; providing service to the whole community,” said Dr. Kirkland.