Please, Please help these New Jersey foster children have toys for Christmas this year
It's Christmas morning, you're a kid feeling all the Christmas joy and excitement over the big day and can't wait to go to the Christmas tree and see what kinds of toys you got to open up.
There is plenty of good reasons to be excited but with it come lessons that we must learn and then pass onto our children: be thankful for what you got that morning but overall what and who you do have in your life, and don't gloat.
Another lesson that we must all have learned or learn and then pass on to our youth and kids is to give and share of yourself and spirit but also food, clothes, toys, etc. to help others, especially around this time of year be able to have a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal, but, also, that kids can have at least one toy, one gift to open up on Christmas morning.
Keeping this in mind, please try and make some time this coming Sunday morning November 20 from 8-11 am in the Ocean County Mall parking lot right outside of Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea for the 2022 Cars N Coffee Christmas Toy Drive presented by Riccardi Racing and Toms River Police.
Rick and Jenni Riccardi of Riccardi Racing and Jillian Messina from the Toms River Police Department Media Relations Division joined us for a discussion on this upcoming Toy Drive on an episode of the 'Eyes on the Jersey Shore Podcast' this week.
The toys collected will go to CASA of Ocean County.
"We try and encourage everybody to bring an unwrapped toy for a child from 1-year old all the way up to a teenager that would like to have a toy for Christmas," Rick said. "When you look back -- when you were little, would you want to wake up on Christmas morning and not have a toy to open up on Christmas. If you have an opportunity to help a kid have that, go back to what it would feel like, and then you know you just made a difference by giving a kid a toy for Christmas."
There is not a specific list of toys they're collecting at this Toy Drive, but, put yourself in a young boy or girls shoes, and then pick up that toy or two and bring it on Sunday.
"Any unwrapped toy, you can bring as many as you want -- 1,2, 5, 10, whichever -- just as long as it's brand new and it's unwrapped," Jenni said.
In the 2021 Toy Drive that they held, the Riccardi's and TRPD were able to help collect a great number of toys.
"We have an 8x12 trailer, usually, every year it grows even more, last year we were able to fill 3/4 of the trailer -- not reaching our goal to fill it and fill the bed of the truck, but, we got 3/4 of the trailer full, which, in result, ended up with all the children in CASA getting more than one toy for Christmas which was really great," Rick said.
The partnership between Riccardi Racing and Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little and the Toms River Police Department to help CASA of Ocean County has been going for 8-years and it's about doing whatever they can to help those in our community.
"It's so awesome to see the community come together for great things and Rick and Jenni and everybody at Riccardi Racing have been so fantastic to, not only do this every year, but, to grow it every year," Jillian Messina said. "If you look back at CASA -- CASA are children who are in the foster care system. In Ocean County alone, there's around 700 children, and, in Ocean County there's just under 200 that have a CASA which is a Court Appointed Special Advocate to help them through that system. To be able to give these kids something that is a constant -- then they (CASA) make sure that they (the kids) wake up on Christmas morning or on their holiday morning to a toy. To a typical child, that toy may be so amazing, and then they put it down to the next toy, but, for a kid in the foster care system -- that toy is their everything."
Please take some time out on Sunday morning and bring a toy or two to help these children have something on Christmas morning.
Oh, and rumor has it -- the Grinch will be there as well!
You can listen to the full conversation I had with Rick & Jenni Riccardi and Jillian Messina talking about the Toy Drive, right here.