EO council members, nonprofits to host Toy Drive

Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge, pictured, and Councilman Bergson Leneus are working with a nonprofit to host an annual Toy Drive on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge and Councilman Bergson Leneus, both of East Orange’s 3rd Ward, have joined forces with New Jersey Kids Fashion Week, the Patrick Healy Student Council and the Rubens Blanc Management company to host an annual Toy Drive at Mrs. G Lounge on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.

New Jersey Kids Fashion Week is a nonprofit organization founded by professional fashion coordinator Josie Payoute; Martine Pierre, the owner and founder of Her Faith Event Planning & Lifestyle company; and Jessica Smith, the former owner of the Gallery 15 studio. Payoute, Pierre and Smith use their fashion knowledge to help children in the community.

For Payoute, who is Leneus’ sister and a member of the Leneus Family Foundation, as well as the founder and owner-operator of Eisoj LLC, such ventures in East Orange are nothing new. On Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, they teamed up with Curly Empress LLC to host the first Curls Give Back Toy Drive & Shopping Affair in East Orange.

On Friday, Sept. 2, and Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, Leneus was in attendance when Payoute, Pierre and Smith showcased local talent, small businesses and entrepreneurs at the Press Play event and the New Jersey Kids Fashion Week runway show at the Montclair Women’s Club in Montclair, to expose children interested in pursuing careers in fashion and design to the reality of those industries.

“We have so many children that are doing productive things in the community,” said Pierre on Sept. 2, 2016. “A lot of programs don’t teach our children how to own business they teach them how to work a 9-to-5 job. And that’s what we’ve come together to do, to teach them how to own their own businesses at an early age. Jessica actually has programs during the week for young ladies to learn how to sew. And then we have Josie, who is a fashion coordinator, so during Fashion Week, she’s in New York and she’s behind the scenes and she brings everybody together. So we brought it here to New Jersey and I’m an event planner. So we’ve brought all out intelligence together to bring New Jersey Kids Fashion Week.”

So this year’s annual Toy Drive should come as no surprise to the community.

“Food and refreshments will be served,” said Leneus on Friday, Dec. 7. “We want to ensure that all of our babies have a great Christmas. It would mean a lot to me if anyone that can attend does attend.”

The event’s organizers said they are asking attendees to donate a new, unwrapped toy, book, clothing or gift card for children ages newborn to 16 years old.

“Admission is a new and unopened toy or toys,” said Leneus. “The toys will go toward Isaiah House in East Orange, which is a full service shelter that serves children and families affected by homelessness.”

For information on donations or attending the event, contact Payoute at 973-233-9375 or Leneus at 862-250-3874.