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Archdiocese of Newark’s Mercy House Gives Away 1,000+ Toys to Families in Need

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ, The Mercy House, a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office, distributed more than 1,000 new and unwrapped toys to families in need during its annual Christmas Toy Giveaway on December 17.

Hundreds of people — some arriving four hours before the giveaway began — stood patiently in a line that wrapped around the block as they waited for the chance to receive presents they could give to their children on Christmas morning. Mercy House staff and volunteers gave parents and guardians one toy per child along with gift bags and wrapping paper. Many people left with boxes or bags filled with name-brand dolls, blocks, and more — all items generously donated by archdiocesan parishes, schools, individuals, and organizations.

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In addition to those gathered at the giveaway, The Mercy House sent hundreds of toys to two Newark public schools nearby that requested assistance. Parents helped by the Obstetrics Department of University Hospital in Newark were also invited to attend the event.

“Hundreds of families went home with multiple gifts for children,” said Cheryl Riley, director of the Respect Life Office.  “We’re also planning to give toys to anyone who could not be here for the annual giveaway. Our mission at The Mercy House is to provide essentials to those in need, and that definitely includes toys for children during the holidays. No child should wake up on Christmas morning without a gift from Santa.”

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The Mercy House is open year-round on Tuesdays and Fridays to provide food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing for individuals and families in need. Learn more by visiting

The Archdiocese of Newark, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, serves approximately 1.3 million Catholics in 212 parishes throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union. The Archdiocese serves the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services. To learn more, visit

Video Highlights by the Archdiocese of Newark/Jai Agnish

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