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The Mercy House Celebrates ‘Christmas in July’ with Toys, Ice Cream for Families in Need

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ, the Mercy House, a resource and referral center of the Archdiocese of Newark, celebrated its first “Christmas in July” by distributing hundreds of free toys and ice cream to families in need at its Newark location (620 Clinton Ave.) on July 22.

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As the temperature climbed to a sweltering 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, more than 130 parents and children cooled off with a free ice cream cone from a vendor parked nearby The Mercy House. The families then made their way inside the building, where each child joyfully accepted four toys. Visiting moms were also given a small costume jewelry gift. Additionally, several items were raffled off to a few lucky families, with the grand prize being a video game console donated by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Lyndhurst.

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“The families were very happy with the toys, and the ice cream truck was a big hit — you don’t realize how much of an impact these things have on children who might not get them normally,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “We hope the children come away from this event knowing that we’re here for them. Whether it’s a toy or it’s helping parents with some issues they might have, we’re a safe place for them to come to.”

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The Mercy House assists anyone in need by providing nonperishable food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing. The resource and referral center is open every Tuesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Currently, it especially needs nonperishable food, baby wipes, baby formula, baby clothing, and diapers of all sizes.

For more information on The Mercy House, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office — including how to donate and volunteer — visit

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

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