november 26, 2010

City of Newark and The GI Go Fund hold Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Donate Toys to Hundreds of Children

The city welcomed dozens of local children and families to take part in the ceremony, where they received hundreds of toys to celebrate the Christmas season.

NEWARK, New Jersey - The City of Newark and the GI Go Fund ushered in the Holiday season by lighting the famous Newark Christmas Tree in the rotunda of Newark’s City Hall. The city welcomed dozens of local children and families to take part in the ceremony, where they received hundreds of toys to celebrate the Christmas season.

The City’s Tree Lighting Ceremony had special significance this year, as recent veterans of Iraq and their loved ones were honored at the event. Mayor Cory Booker, who has shown a continuing dedication to celebrate the tremendous sacrifice and courage of our veterans, called the veterans in attendance up to the stage to receive a standing ovation from the Newark family members in attendance. Booker later gave a special Holiday message to the soldiers currently serving overseas, thanking them for defending our nation as we celebrate the Holidays.

“It was an honor to be here today,” said Sgt. Burkett, who recently returned home from Iraq. “I’ve been living in Newark for over 20 years, and this is the first time being invited to this event. To have my family here with me after being on a tour in Iraq is truly heartfelt.”

Sgt. Burkett’s children, as well as others, received over 500 toys donated by the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the GI Go Fund. Lunch for the families was also provided by the GI Go Fund, with hot chocolate and other refreshments coming from the Salvation Army.

“The event was terrific today,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “These veterans are coming home now and many of them are struggling just to put food on the table, let alone provide toys for their children. It was great to see Mayor Booker call on the audience to thank the veterans for what they have given us, and it was great to be able to put a smile on the faces of those young kids.”

The GI Go Fund and the City of Newark would like to thank the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army for helping to make this Christmas a special one for the children of veterans and all Newark children.

Merry Christmas!