During mid-December, students in the New Jersey Youth Corps high school diploma program at Project Self-Sufficiency will stuff festive bags with the cards and gifts. The items will be delivered by volunteers and Project Self-Sufficiency staff to homebound seniors during the week leading up to Christmas. Along with monetary contributions, the agency is seeking the donation of gift cards from local retailers including Kohl’s, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, WalMart, Weis and the hair salons at the Homestead and Liberty Towers senior residences.
Newton attorney Elenora L. Benz originated the Earth Angels program in 1999 by enlisting the support of her staff member Mary Jones, along with clients, business colleagues and community volunteers. The initiative was taken over by Project Self-Sufficiency in 2017. Although most Earth Angels recipients reside in Newton’s Liberty Towers and Frankford’s Homestead, senior citizens in other parts of the county have been added every year as the program expanded.
“The Earth Angels program invites all of us to demonstrate compassion for those in our community who may feel overlooked or forgotten during the busy rush of the holiday season,” comments Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon. “Our vulnerable seniors need our support, and we are extremely gratified by the outpouring of concern shown by those who donate to this valuable service year after year.”
“This year we expect to bring holiday cheer to more than 100 senior citizens in our area,” remarked Earth Angels Project Coordinator Alice Prendergast. “This program also gives us the opportunity to meet with our older neighbors, find out what they need, and introduce them to the services we offer throughout the year.”
Monetary donations can be made online at www.projectselfsufficiency.org or by making out a check to Project Self-Sufficiency and indicating Earth Angels on the memo line. Donations of checks and gift cards can be dropped off at Project Self-Sufficiency, 127 Mill Street, Newton. To register to receive gifts from the Earth Angels program, or to find out more information, call Alice Prendergast at Project Self-Sufficiency, 973-940-3500.