Christmas on the Island Returns to Give Hope
An event aimed at bringing holiday cheer to Ocean County residents still struggling to get off the mat from Superstorm Sandy, returns again this year. The 2nd annual 'Christmas on the Island' is planned for December 21st in Seaside Heights.
Organizer Courtney Chibbaro said this year, she wanted to go beyond a toy give-away. "I wanted to create a day, create a moment really", she stated.
Chibbaro said there will be a day full of activities, full of pictures of Santa, along with a gift distribution. There will also be a holiday parade that kicks off at noon along the Boulevard, Santa's workshop between Sherman Avenue and the Boulevard and Santa's arrival by helicopter (weather permitting).
Chibbaro, who was also displaced from Seaside Park during Hurricane Sandy and is going through her own personal hardships, said in many ways the year after the Superstorm is more difficult than when it first occurred.
"People have just fought so hard for so long and they're running out. They're running out of their money, their hope and you know, the belief that they're going to be able to get back home some day", she explained.
Chibbaro said 'Christmas on the Island' is free to anyone who wants to participate but Ocean County residents who wish to receive gifts must register at www.christmasontheisland.com. She also welcomes volunteers and folks who want to donate a gift, gift cards or their time.
'Christmas on the Island' is also being hosted by the Borough of Seaside Heights and the Seaside Heights Business Improvement District, as well as over twenty sponsors.