Needy Families Get Help This Christmas
Through the Jane. B. Weilenbeck Needy Family Fund, 53 township families had presents and food for the holiday.
Aleta Kee feels blessed this holiday season.
Supporting four kids, while she and her husband Mark Sr. are out of work, has been a daunting task. Without the help of donations made through the Jane B. Weilenbeck Needy Family Fund, Christmas at the Kee household would have been nonexistent.
"It's a struggle for us," Aleta Kee said. "I'm overjoyed. There's nothing else to say, but I'm overjoyed."
Kee stopped by New Albany Elementary School last week to pick up Christmas presents for her children, and food to make a holiday dinner. Through the family fund, gifts and food were donated by students and staff throughout the district to help the township's needy families this Christmas.
"My kids understand not having," Mark Kee Sr. said. "They appreciate what they get a lot more."
The Kees' kids are 16, 13, 12 and 5.
Throughout the year, the Jane B. Weilenbeck fund collects donations to help not only for Christmas, but also during Thanksgiving and in the spring. Kerry DiSimone, a counselor at New Albany, coordinates the donations there.
"I see the kids who don't have much," DiSimone said. "It's great just knowing they are going to have a nice holiday."
Students, staff members, administrators and other community organizations bought items on families' wish lists. Students in each school donated food such as tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, cereal and mashed potatoes.
Fifty-three families qualified for the program this year and picked up their holiday items at New Albany and Rush last week.
Each family received huge bags of Christmas gifts, shopping bags of food, hams, pies and cookies. Families could even browse through donated items such as gloves, hats and other stocking stuffers.
John Dirr, of Cinnaminson, a retired teacher, is in his second year of helping with the drive. His daughter teaches at New Albany.
"A lot goes into this," Dirr said. "It's really great."
DiSimone said the Jane B. Weilenbeck Needy Family Fund also helps with family's utilities bills and class trips. But, the Christmas donation is the year's biggest.
"I feel it's so important for these kids to feel joy on Christmas," she said.
Other community organizations that contributed to the Christmas fund include St. Charles Borromeo rectory, Barclay Insurance in Riverton, Asbury United Methodist Church, Boy Scout Troop #70, the Cinnaminson Elementary Home and School Association, and other individuals.
To send a donation, contact Jean M. Becker, Treasurer, c/o Cinnaminson Township Public Schools, P.O. Box 224, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077.