LONG BRANCH: Operation Sleighbells is the Family and Children's' Services annual giving program that provides toys and other gifts for 500 families during the holiday season. The FCS relies on donations from residents and businesses as well as other organizations in the area.
A very special donor, Kyle Evans, this year brought 700 new toys and gifts that include a brand new girl's bicycle. His work to help families has been aiding FCS by collecting and donating toys to Operation Sleighbells for more than four years.
Kyle donates his works in the name of his friend Alex Munoz who passed away from brain cancer recently. When he first started, he was too young to drive so he would take his bike through the neighborhood, distributing flyers and storing the toys on his front porch.
During Hurricane Sandy, Kyle's family home was badly damaged but Kyle made it a goal to collect even more toys. He stored them in his brother's empty bedroom. His brother had to sleep among them when he returned from college for Thanksgiving. This year's donation is Kyle's largest ever.
On December Thursday, Kyle brought his 2014 collection to the FCS drop off on Third Avenue, the old KinderCare site once run by Monmouth Medical Center.
The FCS team of volunteers was on site preparing for this season's gifting of toys, books and clothes, to area children whose families are struggling financially and might not otherwise afford a holiday. Family & Children's Service (FCS), Monmouth County is the oldest nonprofit social service agency. Its Operation Sleighbells this year expects to assist more than 500 area families.
"The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of families," says Samantha White, FCS Manager of Volunteer Services. "Many are struggling to make ends meet and simply don't have the resources to provide the extras. We want to alleviate some of that stress. Simple things, such as a grocery store card for a family meal, or a gift for a small child, can go a long way toward making the holidays a special time for everyone, especially children."
For more information visit www.fcsmonmouth.org/our-services/operation-sleighbells/.