'Christmas On The Island' - A Holiday Event Takes Off

South Seaside Park resident comes up with way to thank first responders, cheer barrier island residents

Courtney Chibarro was luckier than many after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore on Oct. 29.

Her family home on Roberts Avenue and the dunes in South Seaside Park were high enough to keep flood waters at bay.

On Thanksgiving Day, when the chaos of evacuation had passed, she took a little time to reflect on how the storm had affected her friends and neighbors on the barrier island and the mainland. And she wanted to do something to thank the first responders and volunteers who are still helping out.

"I called some of my neighbors and friends," she said.

Chibarro asked them if they would help out with thank you cards and come up with ways to liven holiday spirits.

That's how "Christmas on the Island" was born. The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 23 at Salon Allure at 2606 Route 37 East in Toms River and end with a small Christmas caravan in South Seaside Park.

"From there it just kind of took off," she said. "Now we are getting things from all over the country. It really took off."

Salon Allure and the U.S. Post Office in Waretown are the two "dropping off points" for anyone who wants to donate gift cards, baked goods, toys and other items.

Residents can bring items to Salon Allure from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. this week.

"The owner is doing an amazing thing," Chibarro said. "She just wanted to help out. Her whole shop has become a little shop with elves."

Donations of gift cards, thank you cards, Christmas cards and items can be mailed to "Christmas on the Island," c/o P.O. Box 170, Waretown, NJ 08758. she said.

After a holiday celebration at Salon Allure, a small caravan of about three vehicles will proceed over the Thomas A. Mathis Rt. 37 East Bridge and head towards Lavallette.

"We're going to start at Lavallette and make our way down to South Seaside Park," Chibarro said. "We'll have pizzas, water, gifts, donations for volunteers, police officers, families and friends, to provide them with a little holiday cheer."

"Our main goal is to get to police officers who stand out in the cold," she said. "There's so many volunteers out there and so many families they are trying to help. There's not one person that's not deserving. Anyone over there is there for a purpose."

Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. and the mayors of Lavallette, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park all support the event, she said.

"Berkeley Township has been amazing," Chibarro said. "The police chief (Police Chief Karin T. DiMichele) was amazing. She has been so supportive."

Some area residents are planning "baking parties," to make cookie gift packages. A local church recently donated 150 teddy bears, she said.

"We want to make sure everybody gets something," Chibarro said.

Jersey Chuck December 17, 2012 at 12:53 AM
what are the designations E, S, G, O painted on the storm damaged homes?
NancyInTR December 17, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Joan, here is the info: ***Please note: this event is in preparation for a few residents to bring all items to the island. It is not possible or safe for all to go to the island. Christmas On The Island, c/o PO Box 170, Waretown NJ 08758-0170. (See drop off locations and items needed below by clicking "see more") ***DROP OFF LOCATION FOR DONATIONS: Thanks to Sherry, owner of Salon Allure, everyone will be able to drop off all donations at this site located at: Salon Allure NJ, 2606 Rt 37 E, Toms River NJ 08753 ***DATES AND TIME S: Tues 12/11 through Sat 12/15 from 10am-8pm AND Tues 12/18 through Fri 12/21 10am-8pm AND also Sat 12/22 from 10am-2pm. When dropping off please sign the Christmas On The Island sheet with your name, donated items listed, and email address. ***DONATIONS WE'RE SEEKING: completed holiday and thank you cards, gifts (homemade ornaments, gloves, or any donated gift is great!) UNWRAPPED, individually wrapped baked goods, gift cards to Dunkin Donuts for us to purchase coffee to be distributed, gift cards to give out, and any other ideas you want to add! THANK YOU!
NancyInTR December 17, 2012 at 03:09 AM
E=empty, S=searched, O=occupied. Don't know what G means
Jersey Chuck December 17, 2012 at 08:04 AM
Patricia Perillo December 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Normandy Beach access for W/E 12/23. Does anyone know the schedule for W/E 12/23 for Normandy Beach ?? Went on the tomsrivertownship.com website and it does not mention anything about our city. How can we continue to clean out our flood ravaged homes if they keep us in the dark ?? Please someone answer !!!


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