ABSECON - Santa’s elves delivered trunk loads of holiday cheer to the Family Service Agency office in Absecon last week.
They pulled up in four vehicles, including one U-Haul van, that were packed with presents for children enrolled in the Children’s Partial Care program at FSA. Then they dashed in and out delivering several armloads of gifts in the rain on Dec. 23.
The Bailey family organized the generous donation of toys. FSA expected to deliver packages to about 35 children in the program with the Bailey family donation and the additional donations of gifts and gift certificates the agency received from businesses and other sources through the holiday drive.
“17,000 children live in poverty in Atlantic County and many of their parents cannot afford the basic necessities,” said Cindy Herdman Ivins, president/CEO of FSA. “Family Service Association is thankful for the Bailey family for wanting to put smiles on children’s faces.”
The Bailey family, who is involved in Neighborhood Santa in Atlantic City, has donated to the FSA toy drive for three years now, and this wasn’t their only donation of the day. Their next stop was the delivery of toys for about 40 children at the Covenant House in Atlantic City.
“It’s the love of Christmas and the kids,” said Al Bailey. “It’s about giving and we want everybody to have a good Christmas ... We did this from the heart, and there are so many people who helped us.”
“We have so many entities that help us,” said Pat Bailey of Atlantic City. “We all need to give back and pay it forward.” Both of their children are employed in the social service field. “We just want to try to fill the void because there is a need, and we just want to help.”
Christine Althouse of Surety Title in Northfield and a few employees helped deliver the packages to the FSA office, and they donated toys for the drive. They have been helping with the Neighborhood Santa toys for about five years, and were happy to help with this effort, Althouse said.
“It just touches all of our hearts. To know that it goes to children in our community is really important to us,” Althouse said.
Michele McCarty of Absecon fidgeted with excitement while talking about shopping for the toys. “I had a ball just being able to buy the stuff and then imagining the kids’ faces on Christmas morning when they open everything. This little bit can put a smile on their faces,” she said.