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Dec 05, 2017

25 Years, 100 Events to Deliver the Gift of Human Kindness

By Joanne Colella

In 2017, the incomparably talented and tireless volunteer organization Holiday Express, based in Tinton Falls, is celebrating its 25th season of serving those who are desperately in need and often forgotten. To commemorate this remarkable milestone, they are hosting a record-setting 100 private charity events throughout New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. Please consider supporting them by volunteering, coming to one of the fundraiser performances that are open to the public to enjoy, or making a donation to help deliver the gift of human kindness.

Two fantastic public appearances coming up this month are the annual Holiday Express Benefit Concerts at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 18 and Tuesday, December 19. Each one is a spectacular holiday concert for all ages, led by Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone and featuring dozens of the Jersey Shore’s most philanthropic and talented musicians and singers together onstage to perform holiday favorites, all to benefit the less fortunate. With a blend of traditional, gospel, rock, and soul – and the appearance of some beloved surprise visitors – the shows never fail to touch audiences with the spirit of the season. All proceeds from the concerts support Holiday Express. Tickets are $125, $75, $60, $50, and $25 at www.countbasietheatre.org/events/holiday-express-benefit-concert/.

New for this very special milestone year are Holiday Express 25th Anniversary Super 50/50 Raffle tickets, offering the chance to win up to $25,000. Tickets are $100 each and only 500 tickets will be sold – that’s a 1 in 500 chance to win! – with the drawing to be held on January 10 at 7:30 p.m. at McLoone’s Pier House, 1 Ocean Avenue in Long Branch. Ticket buyers do not have to be present to win. To purchase yours, call the Holiday Express office at (732) 544-8010 or email info@holidayexpress.org.

Holiday Express volunteers began hitting the road to visit their very special audiences on November 6 and will be continuing through Christmas Eve – usually doing two or even three private, interactive events each day. The dedicated team of elves, warehouse workers, and musicians will crisscross the area to enthusiastically deliver music, food, gifts, financial support, and the gift of human kindness to those who need it most. Their mission: to personally bring holiday cheer to the often forgotten audiences in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, veterans’ facilities, developmental centers, children’s hospitals, and other locations.

Over the course of the season, they will give out 27,000 oversized, overstuffed gift bags, making sure that no one leaves emptyhanded at any event. Perhaps you would consider organizing a collection drive for the items they need? Holiday Express is also seeking Giving Partners: individuals, groups, families, or businesses that can fulfill specific “wish list” items that are needed, but cannot be afforded, by the places they visit. And with 100 events on this year’s calendar, many hands are needed to make light work in the bustling warehouse where the Holiday Express magic begins. Volunteer shifts are available, day and evening, for both adults and students.

With such an enormous number of very special people to help, Holiday Express is always looking for financial aid to help carry out their mission. Various ways to assist include monetary donations, sponsorships of various events, and donations of good and services.

For more information, please visit www.holidayexpress.org, call (732) 544-8010, look for Holiday Express on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit the warehouse at 968 Shrewsbury Avenue, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724.