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Record Number of Schools Collect Toys in Friendly Competition


Reverend Brown Elementary School

Students from a record-breaking 45 schools in Sussex and Northern Warren Counties spent the last few weeks of 2023 collecting approximately 7,500 new, unwrapped toys in a friendly Stuff the Stocking competition to benefit Project Self-Sufficiency’s Season of Hope Toy Drive.  Each year, the winning school takes home the coveted Stuff the Stocking trophy, along with a monetary donation to their school’s activity fund.  Second and third place winners also receive monetary donations for their schools.  Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School was the victor in the 2023 contest, with more than 1,300 toys collected followed closely by Hardyston Middle School in second place.  Pope John Middle School rounded out the top three.


Project Self-Sufficiency’s Season of Hope Toy Drive gathers new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for Sussex and Northern Warren County children and teens.  In 2023, more than 2,200 children and teens received new gifts from the Season of Hope Toy Shop.


North Warren Regional School District was named the Most Consistent Stocking Stuffer while the award for Most Spirited Stocking Stuffer was given to Lenape Valley Regional High School, which even sent a group of students to Project Self-Sufficiency to help set up the massive toy shop where parents in need can select new, unwrapped items for their children.  The Ogdensburg School was awarded the Most Improved Stocking Stuffer while Rookie Stocking Stuffer of the Year went to Frankford Township School. 


Local schools which collected more than 100 toys included Allamuchy Township School, Brass Castle Elementary School, Florence M. Burd Elementary School, Franklin Borough School, Fredon Elementary School, Glen Meadows Middle School, Green Hills School, Hardyston Middle School, Kittatinny Regional High School, Lenape Valley Regional High School, Long Pond School, Newton High School, North Warren Regional High School, Ogdensburg School, Pope John High School, Pope John Middle School, Reverend George A. Brown Elementary School, Sandyston-Walpack Elementary School, Sparta Middle School, Stillwater Elementary School, Sussex Christian School, and Sussex Tech High School.


“The holidays can be a challenging time for many families in our area and many are experiencing unprecedented economic stress,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “The overwhelming response by these students demonstrates to the families served by Season of Hope Toy Shop that the community cares about them. Having children select toys for other children is a special way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season. Whether a school gathered less than 50 toys or more than 500, we are grateful to each student and school which participated and helped to make the 2023 effort the most successful Stuff the Stocking contest to date.”


Additional schools which participated in the Stuff the Stocking contest included Byram Lakes Elementary School, Byram Intermediate School, Clifton E. Lawrence School, Frelinghuysen Elementary School, Goddard School, Great Meadows Elementary School, Halsted Middle School, High Point Regional High School, Hope Elementary School, Kiddie Academy, Lounsberry Hollow School, Mendham Township Elementary School, Montague School, Marian E. McKeown School, Sussex Middle School, Valley Road School, Walnut Ridge School, Wantage Elementary School, and Warren County Technical School.


Information about the Season of Hope Toy Drive and the programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency are available at or by calling 973-940-3500.


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