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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Nov 09, 2020

Holiday Express Kicks Off 28th Season in a Different Way

This year, the nonprofit organization Holiday Express, composed of 2,500 volunteers, including 150 musicians, kicks off its 28th season in a different way. Holiday Express will virtually bring its famous rock ‘n soul holiday party to more than 100 locations throughout the tristate area. Holiday Express volunteer elves, costume characters and maybe even Santa himself will safely deliver the much-needed gift bags, filled with everyday essential items, to the 27,000 people they traditionally visit each year.

It is the mission of Holiday Express to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year. The organization visits the mentally ill, the homeless, the hungry, the physically challenged, and other special groups. Just a few of those who will receive gift bags and a virtual visit from Holiday Express this year are Ladacin Network, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Mental Health Association, Children’s Center of Monmouth County, Vineland Developmental Center, St. John’s Soup Kitchen, Ancora Psychiatric Hospital and Easter Seals.

Most of the groups that Holiday Express visits are more vulnerable than ever due to COVID-19. The decision to go virtual this season was made in order to protect everyone’s health and safety. However, the need to help is greater than ever, and so is the dedication of the Holiday Express staff and volunteers. This year’s energy-filled, rocking holiday party, led by founder Tim McLoone, was professionally recorded in the Holiday Express warehouse and will be distributed to the various groups so they can view it in a safe and enjoyable way.

“While the 2020 season might not look and feel as it has in the past, we felt this was the best way to keep our commitment to those who have come to depend on us while protecting the safety of those we visit and our volunteers,” McLoone said.

And while Holiday Express cannot have a packed warehouse full of volunteers this season, there are still ways that people can help the organization help others, including:

Adopt an Event: Pick your favorite organization that Holiday Express “visits” and make a monetary donation to offset expenses for gift bags, food, a giving partner gift and much-needed items for that particular charity. Adopting an event starts at $5,000 for small and local events. You may also make a financial contribution to support gift bags, transportation or other costs associated with an event.

Collection Drives: Collect needed items for the Holiday Express gift bags and arrange a time to safely drop off items at the warehouse, or shop directly on Amazon Smile and have them delivered. Items needed include adult toothpaste, baby body wash, washcloths, crayons and fleece throw blankets. All items must be new.

For details on more ways to help as the season unfolds and more information about Holiday Express, visit HolidayExpress.org, call 732-544-8010 and follow Holiday Express on social media.