Students from a record-breaking 38 schools in Sussex and Northern Warren Counties spent the last few weeks of 2021 collecting more than 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. Pope John XXIII Middle School was the victor in the 2021 contest, with more than 1,000 toys collected. Returning champion Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School tied with the Hardyston Middle School for second place. Additional honors went to Longest Running Stocking Stuffer Hilltop Country Day School, Most Consistent Stocking Stuffer Green Hills School, and Most Spirited Stocking Stuffer North Warren Regional. Rookie Stocking Stuffer of the Year went to first-time participant Oxford Central School. Local schools which collected more than 100 toys included Byram Intermediate School, Franklin Elementary School, Frelinghuysen Elementary School, High Point Regional High School, Newton High School, Pope John High School, Sparta Township Middle School, Stillwater Elementary School, Sussex Technical School, and Vernon Township High School.
The Season of Hope Toy Drive is a joint effort coordinated by Project Self-Sufficiency to gather new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for Sussex and Northern Warren County children and teens. In 2021, more than 2,100 children received new gifts from the Season of Hope Toy Shop.
“The holidays can be a challenging time for many families in our area and the on-going public health crisis has placed enormous stress on many parents and caregivers,” 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 2021 effort the most successful Stuff the Stocking contest to date.”
Additional schools which participated in the Stuff the Stocking contest included Blair Academy, Byram Lakes, Cedar Mountain, Florence Burd, Glen Meadows, Kiddie Academy, Kittatinny Regional, Lafayette Township, Long Pond, Lounsberry Hollow, Marian McKeown, Montague, Ogdensburg, Rolling Hills, Sandyston Walpack, Sparta High School, Sussex Christian School, Sussex Middle School, Valley Road, Wantage Elementary, and Warren County Technical. Information about the Season of Hope Toy Drive and the programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency are available at www.projectselfsufficiency.org or by calling 973-940-3500.