Gifts from the Fay-West arriving in New Jersey

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 6:21 p.m.

The truckload of Operation Sandy Claus gifts is arriving at Pinelands Regional Junior and Senior High Schools in Ocean County, N.J., on Monday, thanks to efforts of many volunteers.

Bob Prinkey is driving the Cavanaugh Trucking tractor-trailer that is filled with gifts from so many from the Fay-West area.

Operation Sandy Claus was started by Mary Dreliszak. The project grew bigger each day and the final deadline was even extended. Organizers met on Saturday to evaluate the donations.

“We got a lot of the plastic storage containers that were the No.1 request of students. There were many hoodies, headphones and gift cards, too. People put a lot of thought into what they were purchasing to give to these teenagers. That is clear when you look at our Facebook page. Truly this is Fayette County, Pa., sending a whole lot of love to Ocean County, New Jersey. The community support has been great to see. Elementary students to senior citizens and everybody in between felt this was a way to really show their Christmas spirit and that's what it's all about,” said Dreliszak.

Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center, Greensburg Central Catholic, Trinity High School and Brownsville Area School District all played a big part in the drive's success.

“They were all so generous, Brownsville District collected $2,000 in gifts and donations. The outpouring is overwhelming. National Envelope employees raised $1,000 and went shopping, then delivered it all to Henschel and Sons Warehouse Friday. From a young woman who donated 10 percent of the proceeds of her crafts business to purchase gifts, to the school students who raised funds for gifts with special dress days, to the businesses whose employees made Operation Sandy Claus their Christmas mission, the examples of generosity in this community are endless. Operation Sandy Claus has truly been a story of love and compassion,” Dreliszak said.

Six giant boxes of gifts were loaded by Henschel employees onto the Cavanaugh Trucking tractor-trailer Saturday.

“Bob Prinkey volunteered his time to do this. We had a red suit and a hat for him to dress up as Santa while the toys were loaded. When we were leaving with the truck, a car that was late followed us and we were able to open the trailer and put their toys in too. This area has shown the true meaning of Christmas, many are having hardships of their own, so it was nice that there was so much generosity,” said Dick Morrow of Cavanaugh Trucking.

School officials at Pinelands Regional Junior and Senior High Schools are looking forward to the delivery. The logistics were worked out and include Prinkey having a police escort for one sharp turn he has to make on State Route 9. The ‘Operation Sandy Claus sign is also on board the truck with Prinkey. It will be in the photo of the staff there unloading the gifts.

The project has its own Facebook page there — Operation Sandy Claus: Pinelands Regional Junior and Senior High Schools.

“I've been overwhelmed by the sacrifices people have been willing to make to contribute to Operation Sandy Claus for the Pinelands Regional Junior-Senior High in New Jersey. That truck is full of a lot of love. This entire project has been such a blessing, I'm certain that everyone of the 1,800 students at Pinelands Regional Junior-Senior High will receive something from us. Over $10,000 in gifts were donated,” said Dreliszak.

Henschel and Sons Exhaust and Equipment Warehouse and Cavanaugh Trucking made this mission possible and the community that supported it just made Christmas a whole lot brighter for 1,800 students in Ocean County, New Jersey, Dreliszak added.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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