On Tuesday, Dec. 19, staff and students from Liberty Middle School and the school’s Helping Hands Club brought some holiday spirit by delivering nearly 450 gifts to students from the township’s Washington Elementary School.
The event, planned by Liberty Middle School teacher and Helping Hands Club Advisor Jane Horwitz, provided gifts to every student at the Washington Elementary School.
"For the past 8 years,” Horwitz said, “Liberty Middle School has participated in a toy drive that gifted presents to special needs children in Newark. This year, with the help of the Jackson Malia Foundation we decided to give gifts to needy students right here in our West Orange community.”
The Jackson Malia Fund, Horwitz added, was set up when Jackson Malia, one of the Malia family's triplets, died before seeing his first birthday. His parents set up this non-profit charity in his memory.
She said each year hundreds of people from all around the country send new toys to the fund and the Malia’s generously gift them to needy children. Literally, thousands of presents have been gifted in the past 4 years.
During the past month, Liberty faculty, students, and the Liberty PTA have donated toys, while club members have been wrapping gifts, practicing holiday songs and preparing to entertain the children at Washington, some of whom are siblings of club members that also attended Washington.
Other Liberty students, administrators and faculty helped by wrapping presents during their advisory periods, giving loose change to buy toys, donating money and donating toys.
“This school-wide effort brought cheer not only to Washington Students, but Liberty students as well," Horwitz said.