As the cold weather bears down on Monmouth County and holiday lights spring up throughout the neighborhood, it is evident that the season of giving is upon us.
There are plenty of ways to give back, but here are a few philanthropic ideas for that will warm your heart.
1. Buy a Charitable Christmas Tree
If you are going to buy a real Christmas tree this year, then why don't you check out the options at the Matawan Borough Fire Department's Washington Engine Company on Jackson Street? The fire company will be selling Blue Spruce and Douglas Furs, in addition to decorated and non-decorated wreaths. A percentage of proceeds support Help Us Help Them, a local charity that sends care packages to the armed forces. The rest of the money helps support the Washington Engine Company building. The trees and wreaths will be sold until Dec. 23 (or when sold out) Monday to Friday from 6 p.m. to 8p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2. Help a Sick Child
Despite six-year-old Gia Krumaker's bright spirit, her days are darkened by a rare and aggressive form of cancer that intermingles with her vital organs. Her family is experiencing a financial strain due to Gia's diagnosis and are trying to afford a radical surgery that Gia's doctors believe will save her life, according to The Beauty Foundation. The Beauty Foundation will host a fundraiser for Gia at Bart's in Matawan on Monday, Dec. 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Open house style, they will offer pasta and meatballs with a non-alcoholic beverage for $15 for adults and for $10 for kids 10 and under. A cash bar will be available.
14-year-old Christopher Patrick Conklin, of Aberdeen, now suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (P.O.T.S.), after an exploratory surgery in March left him disabled and bedridden. P.O.T.S. is characterized by the body's inability to make the necessary adjustments to counteract gravity when standing up, resulting in a steep increase in heart rate. His mom is unable to work more than a couple of hours a week now, as he cannot be left home alone like a typical teenager. The loss of income paired with the ever growing hospital and medical bills has left this family in need of help. If you are interested in finding out more, click here to read a post on the Matawan Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, or simply join the Chamber on Dec. 6th between 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at The Buttonwood Manor to offer your support.
3. Support the U.S. Armed Forces
Joseph Sanfratello, a Matawan resident and senior at Christian Brothers Academy, is overseeing two fundraisers to benefit the U.S. armed forces. He is collecting new or used sports equipment, like soccer balls, footballs, mits and baseballs and other items for the armed forces as a way to relax and have fun, in addition to collecting personal items such as deodorant or toothpaste. He is also running CBA's fifth annual Italian style pasta dinner on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the CBA cafeteria. The cost is $15 for adults, and $10 for students. They anticipate a large crowd filled with community members and CBA alumni, but Sanfratello said he wants everyone to know that all are welcome. The proceeds from the dinner go toward purchasing calling cards for the troops, which allows them to call home during the holiday and speak to their families and loved ones.
4. Support the Ronald McDonald House at The Hobby Shop
The Hobby Shop is supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Long Branch this holiday season with a monetary donations and a toy drive. The Ronald McDonald House program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. A box to donate toys can be found inside Hobby Shop, and a monetary donation earns an ornament on their giving tree. (Plus, with one stop you can knock out some of your own holiday shopping.)
5. Mitten Tree
In the spirit of giving, the Children’s Room of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, 165 Main St., Matawan, will have a mitten tree. Patrons are invited to donate new, unused mittens, gloves, hats or scarves to be given to children and adults in need. A box to collect the items will be available Nov. 28 - Dec. 16.
No matter how you choose to give back this holiday season, make sure that the money is actually going where they say. Charities can be checked out online at Charity Navigator.
Don't forget that you can always help a neighborhood business owner by purchasing your holiday gifts, food, wine and spirits locally. Visit Patch Places to check out the small businesses in Matawan and Aberdeen.