OCEAN COUNTY officials are hoping to make this holiday season the most wonderful time of the year for everyone and are asking for your help.
"We are encouraging our citizens to help those less fortunate by participating in the Ocean County Sheriff's Office Annual Toy Drive," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "This drive has helped hundreds of families and children in past years and we want to do the same in 2017.
"With this annual toy drive, under the direction of Sheriff Michael Mastronardy, we have the opportunity to help bring a little holiday happiness into the lives of families that may be going through a difficult time," Kelly said.
Sheriff Mastronardy said that last year the drive helped more than 300 families and provided toys to more than 900 children throughout the County. The drive currently is in need of items especially for children ages 10 to 15 years old.
"We are again working with the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association and local police departments in order to make sure families that are in need are served by the program," Mastronardy said. "It's gratifying that so many people in the past have donated and helped. We are hoping to see the same response this year to helping our neighbors."
New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at a number of locations throughout Ocean County until Dec. 20 including the Ocean County Clerk's Office, Ocean County Courthouse, 118 Washington St., Toms River; Ocean County One Stop Center, 1027 Hooper Ave., Building 2, Toms River; Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Ave., Toms River; Ocean County Southern Service Center, Routes 9 and 72, Manahawkin; County Connection, Ocean County Mall, JC Penney Wing, Hooper Avenue, Toms River and the Ocean County Training Center, Volunteer Way, Waretown.
Also toy bins are at the following Ocean County Library branches: Barnegat Branch, 112 Burr Street, Barnegat Township; Brick Branch, 301 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick Township; Lacey Branch, 10 East Lacey Road, Forked River; Little Egg Harbor Township Branch, 290 Mathistown Road, Little Egg Harbor; Manchester Branch, 21 Colonial Drive, Manchester Township; Plumsted Branch, 119 Evergreen Road, New Egypt; the main branch of the Ocean County Library at 101 Washington St., Toms River; Tuckerton Branch, 380 Bay Ave., Tuckerton, and Waretown Branch, 112 Main St., Waretown.
"This effort is supported by the generosity of the Ocean County government family, from the staff at the courthouse and Sheriff's Office, to the workers in Southern Ocean County, the county staff is helping to make a difference this holiday season," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "We are collectively asking the citizens to do what they can to help."
For those residents who are in need of some assistance with toys this Christmas, please register with the Sheriff's Department by filling out the Sheriff's Toy Drive Application Form by the Dec. 13 deadline. The form may be accessed from the Ocean County Sheriff's Office website home page at www.co.ocean.nj.us/OCsheriff. Or call 732-929-2161 for information on requesting assistance or for providing donations. Toy distribution is scheduled for Dec. 16 and 17.
"On behalf of Ocean County, I want to extend my appreciation to everyone involved in this program," Sheriff Mastronardy said. "This toy drive can make a big difference especially for children. That is what the season is all about."