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Sheriff’s office again collects toys for struggling families

'Tradition has brightened the holidays for thousands of children'

Albert J. Countryman, Jr./The Sun
Tax Account Clerk Kathy Phillips (left to right), Suzanne Mormando of the clerk’s office and Deputy Clerk Melissa Larkin display bins for collecting toys at the Delran municipal building.

Children know Santa Claus is getting ready to pick out their favorite games and toys for delivery under their holiday tree on Christmas Eve. Yet for some children in needy families, there will be disappointment.

The Burlington County Sheriff’s Office wants to alleviate that. Its 28th annual holiday toy drive has begun, with red donation bins at 44 county locations – including the Delran municipal building – for donations of new toys and gifts for struggling families.

Suzanne Mormando, of the township clerk’s office, said there is also a collection box for used eyeglasses and hearing aids, part of resident John Marino’s Eagle Scout project, as well as recycling bins for holiday lights and plastic bags. Marino is working with the Lions Club to help people with poor eyesight or hearing.

As for the children’s gifts, Sheriff James Kostoplis appreciates the efforts of residents to help.

“As members of law enforcement, we take a lot of pride in serving Burlington County communities, and the toy drive is a special part of that service,” he noted. “It’s a long-standing tradition that has brightened the holidays for thousands of children and families.”

Thousands of toys and gifts were collected for last year’s drive and distributed by the sheriff’s office and its partners. All year long, the office continues to accept and distribute donations of food, toiletries, water, toys, paper supplies and other household goods.

“The toy drive began as a way to ensure all Burlington County’s children received a toy or gift during the holidays, regardless of their circumstances,” Kostoplis explained. “That’s still our goal, but we also know that need exists year-round, so our office could be a force to assist children and families throughout the year.”

Donation sites include government offices, libraries, schools and schools. There are collection bins at the Cinnaminson Llbrary, Famous Razor in Medford Lakes, Harmony Village and Philly Pretzel in Moorestown, and in the Student Success Center building on the Rowan College of Burlington County campus.

Mount Laurel has bins in three government buildings: the Municipal Utility Authority, the police department and the municipal building. A complete county list of sites is available https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/2042/Holiday-Toy-Drive.

Businesses or offices interested in hosting a donation bin can contact the sherriff’s Community Outreach Office at (609) 265-3788. Anyone with suggestions about families who could use some help can contact the sheriff’s office by phone or online, where there is also an application form for struggling families.

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