County collects 15 tons of food donations at Holiday Lights Spectacular

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced that 88,652 people visited the annual Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo and more than 15 tons of nonperishable food, clothing and toys were collected for those in need.

“It is humbling to see the large number of items dropped off at the Holiday Lights Spectacular to assist the less fortunate. These donations show the generous spirit and caring that exists in our community and certainly helped make a difference during the holiday season to those who need assistance,” DiVincenzo said. “We offered free admission to the Holiday Lights (Spectacular) as a way to give back to our residents and make the event available to everyone, and we thank our visitors for their extraordinary generosity to help the less fortunate.”

This past winter, 30,961 — more than 15 tons — of nonperishable food was collected for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. In addition, 167 bags of new toys, and 248 bags of winter coats and clothing were collected. These items were donated to various charities throughout the area.

This was the 13th year that visitors were asked to make a donation to help the less fortunate. Donations collected over the years have amounted to more than 145 tons of nonperishable food, 345,000 toys and 20,000 winter coats. The largest Holiday Lights Spectacular attendance was 131,594 people and the most donations collected was 24.5 tons, both coming in 2015.