Holiday Project raises more than $20,000

Harrison families suffering through hardships found some holiday spirit in the form of a gift basket courtesy of the Holiday Project, a drive started to help families utilizing the Harrison Food Pantry. File photo

Harrison families suffering through hardships found some holiday spirit in the form of a gift basket courtesy of the Holiday Project, a drive started to help families utilizing the Harrison Food Pantry. File photo

Harrison families in need received a boost in holiday cheer as a result of more than $20,000 from 102 donors for the annual Holiday Project.

The project, which started in 2010, asked for a $150 donation from participants to put together a gift basket of a grocery gift card, a toy and more to bring holiday cheer to the less fortunate in the community.

Ruth Singer, coordinator for the Holiday Project, said it began to help the families that utilize the Harrison Food Pantry have a “brighter holiday” during the winter season.

“I like helping people and making the holidays brighter for people in my community,” Singer said. “The Holiday Project fit that bill.”

Singer took the reins as coordinator of the project a year after Harrison resident Katherine Frankel, Harrison’s Director of Community Services Nina Marraccini and Republican Town Councilwoman Marlane Amelio began the project.

According to Singer, the project began after the three initial founders wanted to make the holidays special for the families already utilizing the Harrison Food Pantry.

“It was started because the pantry was expanding and people needed an assistance around the holidays,” Marraccini said.

More than 100 Harrison families received the gift of an A&P gift card, a gift certificate to Pizza 2000, Goldberg’s Rock’n Bagel Cafe and DeCiccio’s, as well as a toy for a child and gift for the parents.

According to Singer, the town was involved to “legitimize” the process of donations during the donating period. After the expenses of the gift boxes were accounted for, more than $6,500 remaining was donated directly to the food pantry.

Despite her productive efforts for the 2013 Holiday Project, Singer is looking for a replacement for next year’s edition of the project, and encourages anyone in the community interested to reach out to her at ruru958@aol.com.

-Reporting by Phil Nobile