Long Branch, NJ – With the holidays fast approaching, FCS (Family & Children’s Service), Monmouth County’s oldest private, nonprofit social service agency, is once again asking for your help in granting the holiday wishes of more than 1,300 area children in need as part of the agency’s annual holiday giving program, Operation Sleighbells. Starting in December, FCS will begin collecting donations of new coats, hats, gloves, toys, books, gift cards and infant necessities to meet the needs of 600 area families this year.
“Despite the relatively prosperity of our area, many families, including working families, still have trouble making ends meet,” says Samantha White, FCS Director of Volunteer Services and program coordinator. “Our Mission at FCS is to support people during challenging times and Operations Sleighbells helps achieve that. We provide relief to struggling families during a very special time of year.”
Operation Sleighbells is different from other holiday programs in that it addresses the specific wishes of every child. Participating families are interviewed by staff and asked to provide the ages, sizes and needs of each child. Donors are then asked to fulfill the requests, either individually or by sponsoring an entire family. The thousands of donated items are then organized and sorted by volunteers. It’s an enormous undertaking that also requires additional off-site space to sort and distribute the thousands of donations. This year, FCS is again fortunate to partner with Monmouth Park which is providing temporary space for Operation Sleighbells at its Oceanport location.
“We are most grateful to the owners and operators of Monmouth Park for their generous contribution to Operation Sleighbells,” says FCS CEO Delly Beekman.
“The continued use of the Park’s facilities enables us to serve the tremendous need in our community.”
There are several ways the public can participate in Operation Sleighbells:
1. Adopt a Family - Provide toys, gifts, coats and perhaps a supermarket gift card to enable enabling an entire family to have a special holiday meal.
2. Host a collection drive at work, school, or organization. -- FCS will provide tags listing the first name of a participating child with his or her age, size and holiday wish. Employees or group members can then select a tag and buy a gift for that particular child.
3. Donate gifts - FCS gladly accepts new, unwrapped coats, books, toys and other gifts and will sort and distribute them based on the needs of those registered for the program 4. Donate money to purchase gift cards for older teens – Donations can be made online at or mailed to the agency.
5. Volunteer – Volunteer to help sort and pack gifts.
For more information about Operation Sleighbells and how you can help, visit the FCS website at http://fcsmonmouth.org/our-services/operation-sleighbells/