NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) – Christmas came early this year in Newark as families and their young children were showered with hundreds of toys on Friday at the Mercy House.
The Mercy House, which is an extension of the Archdiocese of Newark, put on the event, which was made possible by donations.
One young girl said she was grateful for the toys.
“It’ll help me stay busy and it will make me play with it all day long without bothering people,” she said.
The Mercy House has an annual toy giveaway during Christmas. The December giveaway is for the parents to give the children a gift from Santa if the parents don’t have the resources themselves, Friday’s toy giveaway, however, went directly to the kids.
They received items like basketballs, toy cars and more.
Volunteers from a local youth group helped out and the kids even got to meet Isabella Gallan, Miss New Jersey Teen USA.
“The biggest thing that I want for them is to have some joy in their life,” Gallan said.
The Mercy House does more than provide gifts, and the director Cheryl Riley wants the young visitors to know that.
“We are here for them,” Riley said. “We are going nowhere and we are here to help them.”
Lilian Osinuga is one of those people they’ve helped. She’s now 19 and is raising three younger siblings with her mother and came to the Mercy House when they needed help paying rent and Riley came through.
“Ever since then she’s making life so easy for me,” Osinuga said of Riley. “She always [advises] me and [tells] me, ‘Never give up. I believe in you.’ She’s just like a godmother to me.”
With a food pantry and many other services and programs available for free, the Mercy House is in it for the long haul.
“In my heart, I hope that someday one of these children will come back and say, ‘The reason why I graduated college or I’m successful is because of Mercy House,’” Riley added.