Working toward happy holidays for needy children

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    WEST MILFORD-For the town's Welfare Department, November and December are among the busiest, as well as the most festive, times of the year. And, for those with little in the way of resources for Thanksgiving feasts or Yuletide gifts, the holidays can be especially bleak. Working to keep that from happening are Welfare Director Gail Anderson and her staff. For the Thanksgiving holiday, the department provided some 32 food baskets to local needy families. "I received donations of food baskets from the (local BPOE) Elks lodge, the Lions Club, the Highcrest Woman's Lodge, Boy Scout troops, Girl Scout troops and area senior clubs including the Golden Jet Set," said Anderson. With the first of their three annual key drives under their belt, the department is focusing on the next: the Christmas holiday. "I receive donations of toys for children from the West Milford and Hewitt Post Offices. Also the lakeland banks' West Milford, Hewitt, and Newfoundland branches, as well as local realtors, the Macopin School, and residents of West Milford. These toys are distributed the week of Christmas." In addition, the department has an adopt-a-family program in which local residents can adopt a similar, but needy, local family. "The family will purchase gifts for the children and parents, and provide a Christmas dinner. Everything is delivered to my office and then I call the needy family to pick up the items," Anderson said, thus Also, it's not too late for those in need to request assistance for the holidays. While Anderson requires proof of income and residence, "families can call my office at 973-728-2871 and I will set them up with an appointment." At least 30 families are projected to be assisted in having a more enjoyable holiday. After Dec. 25, the welfare staff can take a breather, but not for too long. Their third major holiday assist will be headed their way with the approach of Easter.