The Monroe Township Department of Community Affairs has planned seasonal events throughout the month, starting with a holiday lights contest that will begin on Dec. 15.
“The contest gives the community something to do,” said Director of Community Affairs Brandee Derieux. “I spoke to someone during our scarecrow contest and he told me it helped him be creative and think outside of the box.”
The Community Affairs department goes all out every year during the holiday season. The lights contest will include 30 of the most festive houses in town and first, second and third-place gift card prizes. There will also be a prize for the most festive neighborhood; the winner will earn bragging rights and receive a plaque on its street sign reading “Holiday Road 2022.”
To help the whole community enjoy the lights, the Pfeiffer Center will drive local seniors around on Dec. 14 and 15 so they can vote on their favorite decorations.
Later in the month, the department will recreate Whoville and host the Grinch during a luncheon photo event from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The Dec. 17 sessions are $5 for 30 minutes with the Grinch and a hot pancake lunch. More than 500 people have already signed up.
On the same day, the department is offering a day trip to New York City to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The cost is $160 per person and a bus will pick up ticket holders from the Monroe library at 6:45 a.m. The show will begin at 10 a.m. and participants will get free time to roam the city until they head back at 4 p.m.
“I have had several of the residents ask about field trips like this,” said Derieux. “Since we do senior trips, I called the company we use and she said she could do it and put it together. A lot of people think $160 is a lot, but we have 23 people signed up and 17 more tickets I have to sell.”
Community Affairs will host a senior holiday luncheon at the Estates of Monroe on Dec. 22, complete with free giveaways, door prizes and other contests. Tickets were distributed at the Pfeiffer Center on Dec. 1 and 2 to about 200 people.
Along with that, the local nonprofit Shaun’s Story will “adopt” seniors of the center and distribute gifts to them at the luncheon. The center is collecting donations of items from socks, throw blankets and scarves to playing cards, puzzle books and toiletries.
“The luncheon offers socialization; it gets them out of the house,” Derieux said of seniors. “Lots of seniors don’t have families around. One of our seniors mentioned that his son lives in California and he doesn’t see anyone but us.”
The Pfeiffer Center will also sponsor a Toys for Tots collection of items and food and the adoption of 11 families in the community who will need assistance during the holiday season.
“Families have reached out to the center and said they are in need when it comes to gifts for their children and food for their table,” Derieux noted. “So we reach out to people and businesses in the township in hopes that they will adopt some of these families for the season. We do it every year.”
For more information about upcoming events, check the Monroe Township Community Affairs Facebook page.