Orange toy and coat drive gathers huge support

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ORANGE, NJ — The annual Orange toy and coat drive arranged by the Orange Democratic Committee was held on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Appian Way restaurant, to the delight of local children and their families. Hosted by Orange Democratic Committee Chairperson Antoinett A. Hall, the night included great food, music and plenty of gifts donated to residents and families in need.

This event, started 13 years ago by Hall, aims to give back to community members in need.

“My father instilled in me the idea that it’s always better to give than to receive,” Hall told the Record-Transcript.

Through this event, the committee served between 300 and 400 families in need this year.

“We all want better for Orange, which is why we held this drive today,” Hall said. “The greatest gift that I can receive is the smile and joy that is brought to the children and families through this initiative.”

Councilman Weldon Montague III made his presence felt throughout the evening.

“I’ve been on the county (Democratic) committee for 14 years, and we have always helped the disadvantaged at times of need like this, so I am proud of the Democratic Party,” Montague told the Record-Transcript. “We do what is right and needed, but also whatever we can do to alleviate the struggling families during the holiday season.”

Councilman Clifford Ross also made his presence felt throughout the evening.

“I was a former chairperson on the committee for 15 years; the goal of the committee is to get people registered and to come out to polls to vote,” Ross told the Record-Transcript. “So, kudos to the committee for stepping up and helping families during this time, because no one should go without food and clothes.”

Orange Democratic Committee Vice Chairperson William Hathaway Jr. helped to organize this event.

“I am overwhelmed by the service of our 34 members. Shout out to the Orange Police Department and Fire Department for their commitment to helping families,” Hathaway told the Record-Transcript. “Seeing kids with no coats also breaks my heart; this was a community partnership effort, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.

Orange Board of Education member Derrick Henry also added his efforts to this giveaway.

“As a representative of the board of education, we don’t only focus on grades. We also support children and their right to play,” Henry told the Record-Transcript. “Let children be children. They should only have to focus on four things: birthdays, individual grades, Christmas and their report cards.”

Hall has plans for her future with the committee and Orange.

“In the future, I am looking to continue to serve my city in the best ways possible,” Hall said. “I will work to build vocational schools around the city to serve students looking for alternative paths, as well as building recreational centers for youth and senior centers for our older residents.”

Photos by Javon Ross