LONG BRANCH, NJ – Shore Regional High School student Kyle Evans believes every child deserves a holiday, which is why he is determined to collect more than 800 new toys to donate to Family & Children Service’s Operation Sleighbells this holiday season, despite the fact that his own family is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.


Oceanport teen Kyle Evans with some of the more than 800 toys he hopes to collect for FCS’s Operation Sleighbells

Last year, Kyle donated more than 400 new toys to Operation Sleighbells, sometimes taking his bicycle through his Oceanport neighborhood to collect the donated items.  This year, however, Kyle’s neighborhood looks very different.  Many of his neighbors’ homes were severely damaged or destroyed during Sandy.  Even his own home was not spared.  More than three feet of water flooded the first floor, rending it unlivable until repairs can be made.  But Kyle is not deterred.

“He told me it makes his heart feel good to do this,” Kyle’s mother Susan says, “So we just did what we could.”

Before the storm, Klye had already distributed flyers, set up a Facebook page, put a collection box on his front porch and began receiving donations. When Sandy hit, the donated toys were moved to his brother's bedroom while he was away at college. When his brother came home for the Thanksgiving holiday, he slept among the pile of toys until FCS’s Operation Sleighbells headquarters opened earlier this week.

“We are inspired by Kyle and the hundreds of others like him who put the needs of others before their own, especially during the holiday season,” says FCS President & CEO Vincent D’Elia. “Their efforts help us carry out this important holiday tradition year after year.”

Operation Sleighbells is Monmouth County’s oldest holiday giving drive, distributing thousands of donated new toys, books, coats, hats gloves and pajamas to local children who would otherwise go without. This year, the drive is also focusing on the needs of families who have been adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy, collecting new linens, cookware and other household goods that may have been lost in the storm.

Individuals or organizations who want to help with this year’s drive can do one of several things: launch a collection drive, sponsor a family, donate gifts or gift cards or volunteer. For more information on how to give, visit the FCS website at www.fcsmonmouth.org or contact the agency at 732-222-9111.