This month, Holiday Express is kicking off its 30th season of bringing music, gifts and joy to nearly 30,000 children and adults facing mental and physical challenges, serious illness, homelessness, isolation and other struggles with 100 uplifting performances in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1993 by Little Silver resident and restaurateur Tim McLoone, Holiday Express will deliver its signature interactive holiday party to a wide variety of organizations including soup kitchens, homeless shelters and special needs programs. Their troupe of volunteer musicians and singers includes Santa and Mrs. Claus, their elves and costumed characters.
“We’re looking forward to our 30th season of delivering the gift of human kindness to those in need,” said Eileen Higgins, newly appointed executive director of Holiday Express and a 20-year member of the volunteer Board of Directors.
In addition to live music and the entertaining characters, each party includes meals, festive activities and gifts bags filled with warm socks, hats, gloves, toiletries, and other essential items. Holiday Express will also serve organizations still impacted by the pandemic, with taped concerts and food and gift drop-offs, Higgins noted.
Holiday Express relies on 2,500 volunteers and the generosity of donors to make the holidays special for the most vulnerable in the tri-state region, Higgins added.
They will also be bringing their popular fundraising holiday concerts back to the Count Basie Center of the Arts on Monday, Dec. 19 and Tuesday, Dec. 20. The Holiday Express concerts led by McLoone will feature 50 professional musicians and singers spreading musical cheer with their unique mix of traditional, gospel and rock’n soul holiday music. Joining the band will be costumed characters and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The shows are presented by Stillwell-Hansen Inc. and Investors Bank. Tickets are available at TheBasie.org/events/holiday-express.
Additionally, Holiday Express will once again perform at the annual Holiday Tree Lighting in downtown Red Bank on Friday, Nov. 25.
If you would like to volunteer or support Holiday Express, visit HolidayExpress.org.