36 Years of Kevin’s Kids

MANCHESTER – The question assumes a happy answer: “What is Santa Claus going to bring you on Christmas Eve?”

A first-grade teacher innocently asked her class that 36 years ago, when one child offered an unexpected answer: Santa Claus never comes to my house.

School staff donned their Santa’s Helpers Hats and started a toy drive to make sure Santa visited not only him but other needy children.

So now each year, the Manchester Township School District holds its drive, Kevin’s Kids. They help a list that school officials anticipate will include nearly 400 children and their families this year.

This photo, taken in a previous year, shows just how great the need is in Manchester. (Photo courtesy Kevin’s Kids.)

“Yes, this is a Christmas Drive, but hopefully the necessities provided will help parents in these difficult times throughout the year,” said Alex George, Director of Student and Administrative Services, and chairperson for the drive.

The district hopes not only to collect toys, but necessities for families to help them get through the long winter months.

“Through the generosity of the Manchester School District, the Manchester Police, many local businesses, senior villages and the entire Manchester community, the Kevin’s Kids Christmas Drive hopes to grant the specific Wish List of each child,” George said. “Teachers contact parents of the identified children and develop the wish list of each child. During this process, staff discover that for so many of these children it is the very first ‘new’ pair of sneakers or that first brand-new outfit for school or a bicycle that will be their own, instead of one that someone else discarded.”

“This Holiday Drive enables ‘Santa’ to visit the home of each of these disadvantaged children, bringing not just gifts but joy. The children and families that we help struggle every other day of the year and we want them to have at least one special day full of surprise and delight. It offers these children the chance to believe that good things can happen to them,” George said.

“We ask individuals, businesses and community groups for any contribution that you can make to help us carry out our pledge to make sure that Santa Claus visits every home in Manchester. Each donation goes directly to buy food, new toys and clothing for every child identified on our list,” George continued. “It is through your help and generosity that we can achieve our goal.”

This photo, taken in a previous year, shows just how great the need is in Manchester. (Photo courtesy Kevin’s Kids.)

The public can donate by sending a check to Manchester Township Middle School. Make checks payable to the school, with “Kevin’s Kids” in the memo line, and mail to Kevin’s Kids, c/o Manchester Township Middle School, 2759 Ridgeway Road, Manchester, N.J., 08759.

Donations of new toys and clothing can be made to any Manchester school. All donations are due by Dec. 7.

• Manchester Township High School, 101 South Colonial Drive
• Manchester Township Middle School, 2759 Ridgeway Road
• Manchester Township Elementary School, 101 North Colonial Drive
• Ridgeway Elementary School, 2861 Ridgeway Road
• Whiting Elementary School, 412 Manchester Blvd.
• Regional Day School, 890 Toms River Road, Jackson

For more information, visit manchestertwp.org/kevinskids.