Archdiocese of Newark distributes 2,000 toys to record number of families in need

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NEWARK, NJ — The Archdiocese of Newark’s fifth annual Christmas giveaway served more people than ever before, distributing nearly 2,000 new and unwrapped toys to more than 300 families in need who visited the Mercy House at 620 Clinton Ave. in Newark on Dec. 16. 

Meeting this unprecedented demand was not a challenge, however, as 2022 saw Mercy House receive more basketballs, blocks, board games and other gifts from donors than in any previous year. In fact, parents and guardians who came to this year’s giveaway received three toys per child — two more than they normally get. Everyone also had the chance to pick out free chocolate, children’s books and Christmas decorations, and several major prizes such as large dolls were raffled off. 

“Whenever the economy is bad like it is now, we actually receive more donations,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office and Mercy House. “It’s because people recognize the importance of giving when times are tough. And we appreciate their generosity because it helps us make sure that every family has what it needs for a great Christmas season.” 

This year, many archdiocesan parishes, public and private schools, Knights of Columbus chapters, and individual donors contributed presents for the Christmas giveaway. That includes Christ the Teacher Academy in Fort Lee, St. Michael the Archangel Church in Lyndhurst and North Arlington High School, which collectively donated hundreds of gifts. Additionally, the North Arlington Woman’s Club provided stockings filled with small toys and candy, which were handed out on Dec. 20. 

Photos Courtesy of Sean Quinn/Archdiocese of Newark