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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hilltop Country Day School Contributes to the Season of Hope Toy Drive



For the seventeenth year in a row, the students at the Hilltop Country Day School in Sparta have contributed new, unwrapped toys to the Season of Hope Toy Drive.  Years ago, the private school began its donation odyssey with a collection of new hats and mittens by students enrolled in the preschool.  Now the entire school joins in the effort, which yields an enormous toy box filled to the brim with gifts for children in Sussex and Northern Warren Counties.  The Season of Hope Toy Drive is a consortium of local social service agencies and businesses spearheaded by Project Self-Sufficiency.  The group also includes Charm, the Chatterbox Drive-In, iHeartMedia, Intercar Mercedes Benz, Pass it Along, Selective Insurance Company of America, Skylands Stadium, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Sussex Honda, The New Jersey Herald, The Printing Center, and Toys for Tots.  Organizers hope to collect more than 20,000 items for distribution to low-income Sussex and northern Warren County families in mid-December. 

The toy drive at the Hilltop Country Day School is coordinated by preschool teacher Christine DeStefano along with Michael Umstead, Science Teacher and Faculty Advisor for the Student Council.  “The focus of the whole school is on community service,” noted Christine, who originated the idea for the drive amongst the preschool children twenty years ago.  “We wanted to help children within the community and for the first three years, we collected mittens, hats and gloves.  The involvement of the older children is what has brought this drive to what it is today.”

“We could not be more pleased with the effort by the children and families at Hilltop Country Day School.  Year after year, this school has collected wonderful gifts for local children in need,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “They have given the gift of hope to families who may be less fortunate than themselves.”

Those who wish to contribute to the Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive are encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Gift items will be gratefully received at Project Self-Sufficiency, which is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton, Monday – Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. or Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Additional drop-off sites can be viewed on the Project Self-Sufficiency website, www.projectselfsufficiency.org.  For more information, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Get Free Legal Advice at Project Self-Sufficiency



Private meetings with an attorney are available at Project Self-Sufficiency to those who may need advice about divorce, bankruptcy or other topics.  Individual consultations will be offered at 45-minute intervals on Thursdays, January 1st – 29th, between the hours of 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  The sessions are free and open to Sussex County residents who meet income eligibility requirements; consultations are by appointment only. 

Sussex County attorney Ann Pompelio, Esquire, has volunteered her time extensively at Project Self-Sufficiency, offering individual consultations to clients as well as facilitating free seminars about her area of specialty, Family Law.  “I applaud the existence of Project Self-Sufficiency and I am proud to be a family law attorney who can educate people about the law, the divorce process, custody laws, and how to file a motion to get a revision of child support.  Project Self-Sufficiency is a valuable organization.  Family law is my area of expertise and I think it is important to give back to the community.  I am fortunate to be able to run my own business and volunteer right down the street.”

Sussex County residents in need of legal guidance are paired with a member of the Sussex County Bar Association with expertise in matters of Family Law, Bankruptcy or other topics.  “The members of the Sussex County Bar Association who volunteer their time each month are providing an invaluable service,” notes Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “Their commitment to this program is laudable.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated group of individuals offering their help to area residents at such a critical time in their lives.”

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children.
To make an appointment for a legal consultation or to find out more about the other services available at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500.  Information about Project Self-Sufficiency is also available at www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

Blair Academy Competes in the Stuff the Stocking Contest on Behalf of the Season of Hope Toy Drive



Students, staff, faculty and the children of Blair Academy faculty members are competing in the Stuff the Stocking contest on behalf of the Season of Hope Toy Drive, a community-wide effort which aims to gather 20,000 new and unwrapped items for children of all ages.  The gifts will be distributed to families in Sussex and Northern Warren Counties this month.  Blair Academy is just one of twenty-seven elementary schools, middle schools and high schools which are competing for the Stuff the Stocking trophy.  The school which gathers the most toys will receive a donation for its student activities fund, and have the honor of defending the trophy during the next holiday season.

Led by Project Self-Sufficiency, the consortium of local enterprises behind the Season of Hope Toy Drive also includes Charm, the Chatterbox Drive-In, iHeartMedia, Intercar Mercedes Benz, Pass it Along, Selective Insurance Company of America, Skylands Stadium, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, Sussex Honda, The New Jersey Herald, The Printing Center, and Toys for Tots. 

“We have worked with Project Self-Sufficiency for many years, and the students have always responded very enthusiastically.  We like our students to get out and give back to the community,” added Kaye Evans, English Teacher and one of the Coordinators of Community Service at Blair Academy.  She noted that even the families of faculty members contributed to the effort.  “This is a whole community effort.”

In addition to new and unwrapped toys, the donation of gift cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes and stocking stuffers are always appreciated.  Gift items can be dropped off at Project Self-Sufficiency, which is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton, Monday – Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; additional drop-off sites are located throughout the area.  Donations are requested by December 16th in order to allow ample time for the items to be distributed to needy families. 

For information about the Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.