NEWARK, NJ (PIX11) – Christmas arrived early this year in Newark as families and their young children were showered with hundreds of toys Friday at the Mercy House.
Mercy House, which is an extension of the Archdiocese of Newark, hosted the event, which was made possible through donations.
A young girl said she was grateful for the toys.
“It will help keep me busy and it will keep me playing with it throughout the day without disturbing people,” she said.
The Mercy House holds an annual Christmas toy giveaway. December’s gift is for parents to give children a gift from Santa Claus if parents do not have the resources themselves, Friday’s toy gift, however, went directly to children.
They received items like basketballs, toy cars and more.
Volunteers from a local youth group helped out and the kids even got to meet Isabella Gallan, Miss New Jersey Teen USA.
“The biggest thing I want for them is to have joy in their lives,” Gallan said.
The Mercy House does more than provide freebies, and manager Cheryl Riley wants young visitors to know that.
“We’re here for them,” Riley said. “We’re not going anywhere and we’re here to help them.”
Lilian Osinuga is one of those people they helped. She is now 19 and raising three younger siblings with her mother and came to Mercy House when they needed help paying the rent and Riley came along.
“Since then she has made my life so easy,” Osinuga said of Riley. “She always have [advises] me and [tells] me, ‘Never give up. I believe in you.’ She is like a godmother to me.
With a pantry and many other services and programs available free of charge, Mercy House is here for the long haul.
“In my heart, I hope one day one of these kids will come back and say, ‘The reason I graduated from college or made it through is because of Mercy House,'” added Riley.
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