Needy Burlington County families have until today to apply for Give A Christmas gift cards from public donors.
The Burlington County Times and New Jersey 211, a 24-hour, nonprofit information and referral service, co-sponsor the program to help needy families over the holidays.
NJ 221 reports 457 applications this year. Public donations assist low-income families to give their children holiday gifts.
The Burlington County Times, a Gannett-owned newspaper in South Jersey, accepts donations year-round, but today is the deadline for initial NJ 211 applications for $50 Amazon e-gift cards for children under 17.
NJ 211 COO Kevin Donahue said applicants had until Dec. 12 to submit supporting documents.
He said gift cards will be issued in mid-December and hoped donations would cover all eligible households.
Recent gifts totaled $40,761.00. An anonymous donor gave $25,000, the greatest donation ever. His family donated $10,000 and $20,000 to Give A Christmas previously.
In an economy that has seen higher inflation and cost rises for most things this year, there are still nearly three weeks to donate and help suffering families.
Cristi Abdelrahman, a single mom, and Mount Holly server used the $200 she received last year to buy clothes for her two boys and two girls, ages 5 to 12.
“They didn’t wear only hand-me-downs. It brought smiles, which was my goal.”
Last year, 330 qualifying families received $59,600 in gift cards. Donations have exceeded $3 million since 1968. Burlington, adjacent counties, and readers from Florida have donated.
Burlington County residents who require assistance may phone the NJ 211 helpline by dialing 211. They also may text GAC to 898211 to check eligibility and make an online application.
Eligibility is determined on income and recipients may include but are not limited to, parents with sick children, single-family families, persons battling with addiction, and people who are unemployed.
Donahue said a family can receive a maximum of four gift cards, but if there are fewer than four children, parents can also receive one gift card between them.
To give or for further information about applying for Give A Christmas visit burlingtoncountytimes.com/GiveaChristmas