JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – For the 43rd year, Sailors and Navy civilians from the Lakehurst side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst came together to donate toys to children from low-income families as part of the Navy Lakehurst Giving Tree program.
Approximately 200 children ages three-five from the Berkeley, Manchester and Toms River Head Start Centers received a requested toy from their holiday wish list, donated by volunteers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Lakehurst.
“Navy Lakehurst has a rich history of partnering with our local community and we are happy to continue this wonderful holiday tradition of giving back," said Mauricio Borrero, NAWCAD Lakehurst site director. "The generosity and willingness of our personnel to volunteer their time to make sure each child from the Head Start Centers receives a gift for the holidays demonstrates why this program continues to be a success 43 years later."
Santa Claus was joined by his “elves” to deliver the gifts to the Head Start centers the week of Dec. 3.
Along with opening their presents, the children posed for photos with Santa, which teachers said will be shown to their parents.
“O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Head Start and Naval Lakehurst Giving Tree Program continue to have a long and successful relationship,” said Sharon Hopson, O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Head Start education coordinator. “The generosity of the Giving Tree Program has benefitted our families by providing gifts which have helped our families have a brighter Christmas.”
“So many times, in low income families, funds need to go towards day to day expenses rather than gifts for the holiday. It is always a delight to see the smile on the children's faces when they open a gift and it something they asked Santa for. Thank you to all the volunteers and service personal for making Christmas wishes come true,” said Hopson.