MANCHESTER – Nearly 40 years ago, a township first grade teacher unknowingly sparked a Christmas tradition when she simply asked her class, “What is Santa Claus going to bring you on Christmas Eve?”
Sadly, one child broke the teacher’s heart with his response of “Santa Claus never comes to my house.” Saddened by the boy’s story, the school staff started a drive to help the boy and his family as well as a handful of other needy children.
The Kevin’s Kids Drive didn’t end that holiday season. It continued on and remains to this day. It operates with a list of families that school officials anticipate will include some 300 children and their families this year.
The goal of the annual Kevin’s Kids Drive is to provide not only toys but also necessities such as clothing and food. “Yes, this is a Christmas Drive, but hopefully the necessities provided will help parents in these difficult times throughout the year,” said Manchester School District Director of Student and Administrative Services Alex George. He serves as the chairperson of the drive.
“Through the generosity of the Manchester School District, the Manchester Police, many local businesses, senior villages and the entire Manchester community, Kevin’s Kids Christmas Drive hopes to grant the specific Wish List of each child.
“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.”
George added, “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.”
“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,” said George.
“It is through your help and generosity that we can achieve our goal,” George said.
How To Help
To donate to the 38th Annual Kevin’s Kids Christmas drive, make checks payable to Manchester Township Middle School with “Kevin’s Kids” written in the memo section and mail to: Kevin’s Kids, Manchester Township Middle School, 2759 Ridgeway Rd., Manchester, NJ 08759.
The deadline for donations is December 11. You can also visit manchestertwp.org/kevinskids for drop off locations, fundraising events, and more information.