The annual Chieffo Holiday Toy Drive kicks off in Nutley

The toy drive dates back 25 years to when organizer Michael Chieffo's father died from Leukemia. It was a way to honor his father's memory.

News 12 Staff

Dec 10, 2022, 10:48 PM

Updated 586 days ago

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The Chieffo Holiday Toy Drive for children who are battling cancer kicked off Saturday in Nutley.
The toy drive dates back 25 years to when organizer Michael Chieffo's father died from Leukemia. It was a way to honor his father's memory.
"It's been a tradition that I wanted to do for him. I figure you're going to help some children, give the toys out and will give them some smiles," Chieffo said.
"We have friends that are personally affected by childhood cancer, and the fact that they give back to the community is wonderful," said resident Liz Ritacco.
The family of 10-year-old Chase McGee, who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor two years ago and just recently completed chemo, know firsthand how much the donated toys mean to sick children.
"When Chase was in the hospital, we'd have the child life specialist come in and give him a toy. It's hard going through what he did, but just coming in with the LEGO set or a coloring book really just boosted his day, and we were very thankful for that, which is why we love coming here and donating toys as well," said Chase's mother, Nicole McGee.
The community tradition included the entire neighborhood dropping off carloads of toys throughout the day.
Parents said it's important to teach their children about giving.
"We took my daughter out this afternoon, had her pick out the toys and explained to her that everyone coming here is going to be Santa's little helpers," resident Brian Canova said. "We just said to her we're going to make someone's Christmas a little bit brighter."
The toys that were collected will be going to kids at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack and Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.
Donations can be made throughout the holiday season.


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