The Archdiocese of Newark’s Fifth Annual Christmas Giveaway was a huge success this year, with nearly 2,000 new and unwrapped toys being distributed to over 300 families in need. This year’s giveaway was made possible by an influx of donations, including basketballs, blocks, board games, and other gifts from various parishes, schools, Knights of Columbus chapters, and individual donors. The families who visited The Mercy House in Newark on December 16 were able to pick out three toys per child, as well as free chocolate, children’s books, and Christmas decorations. Major prizes like large dolls were also raffled off.
According to Cheryl A. Riley, director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office and The Mercy House, the Christmas Giveaway saw an increase in donations this year due to the current economic climate. “Whenever the economy is bad like it is now, we actually receive more donations,” said Riley. “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.”
In addition to the Christmas Giveaway, The Mercy House provides nonperishable food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and assistance with finding work and housing to anyone in need at its Newark location every Tuesday and Friday, and at its Jersey City location every Monday and Thursday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Mercy House, which opened in 2018 as a center for pregnant and parenting women, has since expanded its mission to support anyone in need.
The Archdiocese of Newark serves over 1.3 million Catholics in the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union. It comprises 212 parishes, 73 Catholic schools, and many missions and ministries, with Masses being celebrated in more than a dozen languages each week. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin leads the Archdiocese with the assistance of four auxiliary bishops, working together to serve the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services.
Photos by Archdiocese of Newark/Sean Quinn