Sparta families come out to help the needy

Wish list covered for 86 county kids

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  • Hot chocolate helpers, Sparta Middle School students: from left, Michael Rocco O'Krepky, Elliott Layman, Kate McCall, Uma Kowalski and Sophia Paolercio. Photos by Rose Sgarlato

  • Mikayla, Robin, Olivia and Matthew Flanz all chip in at Family Service Night.

  • The Denicola family volunteers their time to wrap some gifts Friday night at Helen Morgan school.

  • Santa's Helpers and friends Carly List and Ingrid Brevig.

  • Jagger Nelson and Espen Wespestad collaborate with brothers Beck, Liam and Owen Hassloch to create holiday greetings for Sussex County foster children.

  • Nicole Reina helps out 4-year old son A.J. with daughter 11-year-old Emily.

By Rose Sgarlato

— A joint effort from Sparta schools resulted in the 2nd Annual Family Service Night on Friday, Dec. 15 at Helen Morgan. Students and their families gathered together to help less fortunate Sussex County foster children.

The local and school communities of Alpine Elementary, Mohawk Avenue School and Helen Morgan Elementary donated approximately 1,000 toys and over $1,500 in gift cards. About 60 Sparta families volunteered their time on Family Service Night by wrapping all the gifts and preparing them for distribution.

The Denicola family of Sparta attended the event.

“We have three boys, Frank, Vito and Luca who all attend Sparta schools, so we are happy to come tonight and do what we can for other kids,” said Frank Denicola, father of the students.

The Division of Child Protection and Permanency in Newton will deliver the gifts to the Sussex County children. According to event organizers Tracy Layman and Jessica Nelson, all 86 children currently involved with the division had their wish list covered.

“Our 2nd Annual Family Service Night and Gift Collection was a great opportunity for many of our families to make a positive difference in the lives of local children in need,” said Doug Layman, principal of Helen Morgan Elementary School. “Having families wrap the gifts for individual children was a powerful way of making the collection that much more meaningful for those who donated as it was for whom the gifts will be given to.”

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