DAWSON Impact Northeast was privileged to assist the Italian-American Police Society of
New Jersey (IAPSNJ) with their annual Christmas party for the children of the Big Brothers
& Big Sisters of NJ organization. We helped to make the holiday a little brighter for roughly
150 underprivileged children from seven northern New Jersey counties. The mission
of the Big Brothers & Big Sisters organization is to provide at-risk children facing adversity
with stable, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that forever change
their lives for the better.
We started our Impact mission on Sunday, December 16th by shopping for the gift wish
list of 37 pre-teen and teenaged children, ages 12 through 16. We chose to support the
older children because the donors over the last 15+ years focused on the little kids and
it was always a scramble to get age-appropriate gifts for the older kids. DAWSON contributed
everything from make-up, art supplies, and blankets for the pre-teen and teenage
girls to electronics, sporting goods, and games for the pre-teen and teenage boys.
On Tuesday, December 18th we volunteered alongside IAPSNJ members (State, County,
Local and Federal Law Enforcement officers) to label, sort toys/gifts, and fill the 150 gift
bags with items donated by DAWSON and others – working out of the Wood Ridge, NJ
Fire Department garage bays.
On Saturday, December 22nd, DAWSON ‘ohana members unloaded trucks, setup the
party, and organized all of the gift bags in alphabetical order to streamline the process
before the children arrived. DAWSON “elves” acted as Santa’s helpers to deliver the
personalized gift bags to each child. Santa and Mrs. Claus were wonderful and remembered
the children that have been coming to this event for years. The children, family
members, and the volunteers from the IAPSNJ and Big Brothers & Big Sisters were
extremely grateful for DAWSON’s support. The children who attended the IAPSNJ Christmas
Party were all from single-parent, low-income households who are often marginalized.
Many children remarked that the gift bags they receive at the party are the ONLY
gifts they ever receive for Christmas. By the end, every child (age 9 months to 16 years
old) left with a smile. You could see the impact their “Big Brothers & Big Sisters” were
making in their lives, including having a Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)!