Hurricane Sandy brought many an adult in New Jersey to tears this past week. Imagine the fear and uncertainty weighing on a child displaced by the storm. And imagine this trauma coming at what should be the most joyous time of year.
Freehold NJ Network for Success hopes to restore some sense of normalcy to the children affected by Hurricane Sandy with its third annual holiday toy drive to benefit the Jersey Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross. The networking group’s event will take place at the American Hotel in Freehold on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“Everybody knows somebody who was affected,” said John Bruzzese, who runs the popular networking group with his wife, Wendy. “Wendy asked the Red Cross if they wanted us to collect other supplies, but they told us they need toys now more than ever.”
The drive was originally scheduled to take place at the Jersey Coast Red Cross’ facility but was changed after the location became a command center for the charity’s post-storm efforts. The American Hotel quickly stepped up to serve as a venue, Bruzzese said.
Attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child up to 12 years old. Last year, the networking group’s toy drive brought in 200 toys. Bruzzese hopes to see an even stronger showing this for the youngest victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Freehold NJ Network for Success will also be involved in a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser called Jersey Bands UNITE 2 REVIVE, scheduled for Nov. 18 at Jersey’s Sports Bar in Neptune. The fundraiser will feature Jersey Shore bands including the Eddie Testa Band, the Guy Smiley Band and others to be announced.