Not having a winter coat can prevent a child from attending school, but the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is hoping to prevent absenteeism during the colder months through its annual Warmest Wishes Drive.


Children in need are provided with new coats, hats, gloves, scarves and socks, according to the agency's President and CEO Tim Hearne.

"We target the elementary and middle school students and last year we collected over 4,000 items," Hearne said. He pointed out that number is still far short of the need identified by school districts and partnering agencies.

"There's a need in this community of Monmouth-Ocean County where you think there's a lot of wealth, but there are kids who don't have the tools to go to school, including winter clothing," said Hearne.

New winter clothing donations can be dropped off at the United Way offices in Toms River and Farmingdale until Dec. 9.

You can purchase items to donate online anytime at

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at

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