WARREN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — With just four days to go before Christmas, many people are pitching in to help others for the holidays.
A New Jersey mother’s drive to help quickly snowballed into something bigger than she ever imagined, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported Monday.
Big, colorful bags of goodies come from the pure goodness of Catherine Heldt-Ebel and moms all over New Jersey.
“I didn’t think we’d get a response like this. This was incredible,” Heldt-Ebel said.
It started when the mother of five posted to social media asking what local families needed this holiday season.
“There’s definitely a need, a huge need,” Heldt-Ebel said.
Donations poured in and covered her driveway, as women from her Facebook groups came to wrap the wishes of about 140 children.
“Just with everything going on I wanted to help out a family that might need and put a smile on somebody’s face,” Jessica Gonzalez said.
“We’ve probably collected almost $20,000 worth of gifts,” Heldt-Ebel said.
And it’s not just the trunk, Heldt-Ebel’s entire car filled with presents. People have been so generous in this project that with only a few days until Christmas, Heldt-Ebel said she figures she has still got about 50 deliveries to go.
“There’s a lot going on with COVID and a lot of people who don’t qualify for services. I just feel bad for these people who get lost in the shuffle,” Heldt-Ebel said.
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In Brooklyn, Riseboro Community Partnership is making sure nobody falls through the cracks this Christmas. The pandemic forced the nonprofit to cancel its party, but some elves found a way to get holiday treats into the hands of those who need it.
“This year, yeah, there’s been a greater need,” Riseboro’s Jimmy Mueses said.
The need is just as overwhelming in Queens, where the patience of hundreds of people waiting in line paid off. They received free food and toys from the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York.
“It increases the food on the table. It increases the support,” mother Shamika Brodnax said.
Back in New Jersey, Heldt-Ebel said collecting for others has made her own Christmas even better.
“Honestly, I’d much rather give than receive,” she said.
It’s that giving spirit that’s appreciated now more than ever.