A group of Kindergarten students from Stafford Township’s Primary Learning Center (PLC) yesterday received special gifts from Kindergarten students in Chester, NJ, through NJ Strong’s Operation Shoebox.
The students from Dickerson School in Chester decorated and filled the shoeboxes with items such as Jacks, Uno Cards, and stuffed animals. Each box also included a gift card to a local chain store along with a note from the child who made the box.
Marie McMenamy, a local parent who has been assisting the nonprofit group, NJ Strong, delivered the boxes and explained to the students where they came from.
The driving force behind the Operation Shoebox project was Chester resident Kristen Turner, who has a set of twins in the Chester class who filled the shoeboxes. When it came to the organization to receive and distribute the packages, Turner didn't have to look far.
One of Turner's friends is Rockaway native Lindsay Donald. Donald, along with her brother Stephen formed the non-profit NJ Strong in the aftermath of Sandy.
“Kids just like you put these boxes together especially for you because they wanted to help after the big storm,” McMenamy told the Stafford students.
Lindsay Donald, President and CEO of NJ Strong, was unable to attend in person, but she did participate via speakerphone.
“These kids live all the way at the top of New Jersey and they were really sad about what happened, and they wanted to do something to make you feel better,” Donald said.
As the students tore open the boxes, they were thrilled to find the treasures inside and they all began reading the notes from the children.
“This is a wonderful example of how schools across the state are helping one another,” said Carl Krushinski, Principal of the PLC. “It’s amazing to see that even kids as young as 5 or 6 are supporting each other. “