Several efforts are underway to help make Christmas brighter this year for Ocean County children still displaced by Super Storm Sandy or those with families struggling financially. 

(Think Stock)
(Think Stock)

The People's Pantry of Toms River and the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group are working together to collect 500 toys this holiday season, according to Courtney Chibarro, a Disaster Case Manager with the People's Pantry.

"The idea this year was to kind of throw everything into one: have a toy drive, and when you drop off that toy to one of the drop-off locations you get a ticket to come to a community gathering so we can all celebrate together, the non-profits, the community and everyone else together at once," said Chibarro.

Unwrapped, gender-neutral toys for infants and children up to age 14 can be dropped off at the People's Pantry at 1001 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, Chef Mike's Atlantic Bar & Grill at 24th and Central Avenues in South Seaside Park, The Tuscan House at 1250 Hooper Ave, Toms River, or Tiffany's Restaurant at 270 Rt 37E Toms River.

"Those who donate toys between now and December 17, will get a ticket to attend a private party at Tiffany's in Toms River, on the 17th, from 4 to 7 p.m. with Santa, hot food and snacks," said Chibbaro.

Volunteers with the the non-profits will help deliver the toys and one-thousand hot meals on Christmas Day to some of the most vulnerable population in Holiday City and Seaside Heights.

"On Christmas Day we're going to be with Chef Mike from Atlantic Bar & Grill and Chris Baker of The Baker League in Toms River and we'll be at Cafe Italia [2414 Route 37, Toms RiverRiver] doing the meals with all of the toys there," added Chibarro.

Meanwhile, CASA of Ocean County is partnering with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS) to bring happiness to children in need this holiday season.

Donations of new, unwrapped toys and clothing for boys and girls ages 0 to 18 years old are need. Please include batteries.

Toys can be dropped off at the John Hill Agency, 635 Atlantic City Blvd. (Route 9) Bayville, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri.

The Ocean County Sheriff's Department is conducting its annual Toy Drive until December 20.

Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:

Ocean County Clerk’s Office, Ocean County Courthouse, 118 Washington Street, Toms River; Ocean County One Stop Center, 1027 Hooper Avenue, Bldg. 2, Toms River; Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, Ocean County Southern Service Center, Routes 9 and 72, Manahawkin; County Connection, Ocean County Mall, JC Penney Wing, Hooper Avenue, Toms River.

Toy bins are at the following Ocean County Library branches: Brick Branch

301 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick Township; Lacey Branch, 10 East Lacey Road, Forked River; Manchester Branch, 21 Colonial Drive, Manchester Township; Whiting Reading Center, Whiting Commons Shopping Center, 400 Lacey Road, Suite 5, Whiting, and the main branch of the Ocean County Library at 101 Washington Street, Toms River.

Toy distribution will be as follows:

Barnegat Township Police Department for township residents, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 18;

Lacey Township Police Department for township residents, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 22;

Ocean Gate Police Department for Ocean Gate and Pine Beach residents, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Dec. 18;

Point Pleasant Borough Police Department for borough, Mantoloking and Bay Head residents, to be announced;

Tuckerton Police Department for borough and Eagleswood Township residents, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 17;

Ship Bottom Police Department for borough and Long Beach Township, Barnegat Light, Surf City and Harvey Cedars residents, to be announced;

Seaside Heights Police Department for borough and Lavallette residents, 10 p.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 20.

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