fcs sleighbells 1PHOTO: Coaches and players of the Howell High School Football Team

LONG BRANCH, NJ – More than 2,000 Monmouth County children and their families had a brighter holiday season this year thanks to the generosity of all those who supported FCS (Family & Children’s Service) 2016 Operation Sleighbells.  Dozens of area companies, businesses, schools and organizations donated several thousand toys, books, coats, and infant necessities to help fulfill the wishes of area children and families in need.

“We’re proud to say that no child’s holiday wish went unanswered this year,”

fcs sleighbells 2PHOTO: Managers and Directors from 18 Stop & Shop grocery stores in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

FCS Director of Volunteer Services Samantha White explains. “The outpouring of support from the surrounding community allowed us to help a record 1,600 children from 600 families. In addition, we were able to assist another 400 children served by child protection programs in Monmouth County. We were overwhelmed by the response.”

White also praised Monmouth Park Racetrack for donating the more than 5,000 square feet of space needed to collect, sort and distribute the thousands of gifts that come into Operation Sleighbells during the month of December.

Without the additional space, White says the agency would be forced to reduce the number of children it can serve by more than half. “Monmouth Park Racetrack not only provided space, but custodial and other support,” White adds. “When it snowed on the day we were to deliver toys to families, their employees were there shoveling the walks and directing cars to safety. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Families served by Operation Sleighbells are usually experiencing financial, health or other challenges, but one mother who needed help this year (and who wished to remain anonymous) expressed hope that she could do the same for others in need in the future. “I recently started working full time and I finally have the opportunity to secure a life for me and my girls,” she says. “I hope to be able to volunteer or adopt a family next holiday season.

fcs sleighbells 3PHOTO: Bob Kulina (center), president of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park Racetrack with volunteers and staff of Operation Sleighbells.

I want to pay it forward and do what others have done for me through hard times.”

The list of companies, businesses, schools and organizations that contributed to the success of this years Operation Sleighbells includes:

Amazon Consulting Experts; Artisans Restaurant; The Atlantic Club of Manasquan and Red Bank; Atlantis Prep; BASF Corp.; BNI, A Team of Hazlet; Brookdale Community College; Buhler Ford; C1 Consulting; CCMSI; Circle of Life Chiropractic; Cobham Microelectronic Solutions; the Colonial Terrace Neighborhood Association; Colts Neck High School; Commvault; Continental Logistics; the Dugan School; The Endoscopy Center of Red Bank; Family First Urgent Care; First Financial Credit Union; Fragomen Law Firm; French & Parrello; GH Group, Summit; Girl Scouts of the USA, Wall Township; Hair Crafters, Middletown; Hockstein law firm; Holmdel Village School; Howell High School; Inlet Yoga; the Inkwell Coffee House; Interworld Highway LLC; Jersey Shore Women’s Club; Knights of Columbus; the Learning Experience; Lightbridge Academy, Manasquan; Little Chiefs Learning Station; Little Silver Animal Hospital; the Molly Pitcher Stitchers; Monmouth Medical Center; Monmouth University; Morgan Stanley; The Moser Taboada Law Firm; Park Church of Tinton Falls; Pet Smart; The Pilates Project; Pluck’s Fine Haircutting; Qualcare; Relentless Fitness and Training; Revenue Guard; Ridge Realty; Robert Half, Red Bank and Woodbridge; Robin Gazzara Music School; Rumson Public Works; Rumson Country Day School; Searchlight Day School; Single Throw Marketing; Stephen Gould Corporation; Stop & Shop grocery stores in 18 locations in Monmouth & Ocean counties; Strasz Assessment Systems; Tarise Day Spa; Trident Abstract Title Company, Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Financial; West Long Branch First Aide; West Freehold School; West-Ward Pharmaceuticals and You Give Goods.

To learn amore about FCS and its 14 diverse programs and services focused on the needs of multiple at-risk populations, visit the FCS website at www.fcsmonmouth.org