Pupils from a record 45 schools in Sussex and North Warren counties have spent the final weeks of 2022 collecting more than 7,000 new, unboxed toys in a friendly Stuff the Stocking competition to benefit the Self-Sufficiency Project’s Season of Hope toy drive.
Each year, the winning school wins the coveted Stuff the Stocking trophy as well as a monetary donation to their school’s activity fund.
Second and third place winners also receive cash donations for their schools.
Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School in Sparta won the 2022 contest, with more than 1,000 toys collected.
Returning champion Pope John XXIII Middle School took second place, with North Warren Regional High School coming in third.
Additional honors went to Stocking Stuffer Hilltop Longest Country Day School in Sparta, Most Cohesive Hardyston School District, and Liveliest Stocking Stuffer Green Hills School in Township of Green.
The Rookie Stocking Stuffer of the Year went to Brass Castle Elementary School in Washington Township.
Local schools that collected over 100 toys included Allamuchy Township School, Brass Castle Elementary School, Cedar Mountain Elementary School, Florence Burd Elementary School, Green Hills School, Hardyston School District, High Point Regional High School, Hilltop Country Day School, Knowlton Elementary School. , Lenape Valley Regional High School, Mendham Township Elementary School, Newton High School, North Warren Regional Middle School and High School, Pope John XXIII High School, Pope John XXIII Middle School, Reverend George A. Brown Memorial Elementary School, Sandyston-Walpack Elementary School, Sussex Christian School, Sussex Technical School and Warren Hills Regional High School.
Project Self-Sufficiency’s Season of Hope toy drive brings together new unwrapped toys and gift cards for children and teens in Sussex County and North Warren. In 2022, over 2,200 children and teens received new gifts from the Season of Hope toy store.
“The holidays can be a difficult time for many families in our area and the current economic situation has put even more stress on many parents and caregivers,” said Deborah Berry-Toon, executive director of Project Self-Sufficiency.
“The overwhelming response from these students shows the families served by Season of Hope Toy Shop that the community cares. Asking kids to choose toys for other kids is a special way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season.
“Whether a school collected fewer than 50 toys or more than 500, we are grateful to every student and school who participated and helped make the 2022 effort the most successful Stuff the Stocking contest yet.”
Other participating schools were Alpine Montessori, Blair Academy, Byram Intermediate School, Byram Lakes Elementary School, Cedar Mountain, Central Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Fredon Elementary School, Frelinghuysen Elementary School, Glen Meadow Middle School, Goddard School, Halsted Middle School , Kiddie Academy, Kittatinny Regional Middle School and High School, Lafayette Township School, Lounsberry Hollow School, Marian Emmons McKeown School, Montague Elementary, Rolling Hills Primary School, Stillwater Township School, Sussex Middle School, Valley Road School, Vernon Township High School, Walnut Ridge Preschool, Wantage Elementary School, and Warren County Technical School.
For more information about the Season of Hope toy drive and the programs and services available at the Self-Sufficiency Project, go online to www.projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500.