This Christmas, it may be more difficult to think of ways to help others or to spread cheer when you may be feeling a little less than cheerful yourself. Here are a few NJ organizations and businesses that are making a difference by giving back or inspiring us all to get into the holiday spirit. Be sure to check them out, lend your support and pay it forward by doing something in the spirit of the season.

Feeding Holiday Spirit

Newark Working Kitchens will be delivering over 10,000 meals to Newark residents ahead of the holidays. This comes at a time of skyrocketing hunger and lack of access to food across the country, an approximate 50 million Americans facing the prospect of food insecurity this holiday season.

Each of the 24 Newark-based restaurants involved in NWK has created its own holiday-inspired menu and will deliver thousands of meals to local residents in senior, low-income and disabled housing.


Shear Gratitude

Rutherford hair salon Substance has transformed into a Winter Wonderland to help spread some much needed holiday cheer for the local community.

For the third year in a row, Substance Salon is hosting its famous “Miracle on Park” tradition, where the salon is transformed into a complete Christmas Winter Wonderland. Every square inch of the salon is wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper, lights hang from the ceiling and the Christmas decor is on full display. A cut, color and Christmas cheer – what more could you ask for?





Wishes Aren’t Canceled

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses and they’ve continued to deliver hope, strength and joy to local New Jersey children even during the pandemic.

Three-year-old Riley was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and her wish for a backyard oasis has given her smiles and memories to last a lifetime.

The Season of Giving

The Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable held a Toys for Tots collection drive on December 5. Staff and volunteers, including Santa and Mrs. Claus accompanied by ponies JJ and Ebony, collected toy donations to enable children who are in need to receive Christmas gifts. More than 1,300 new toys and books were collected by generous visitors to the Stable.

Reaching Out to Those In Need
Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon is distributing free groceries to local individuals and families in need every other Wednesday beginning December 9. Between 3 and 5 pm, Mountain Creek Resort will be providing pre-packaged baskets containing a week’s worth of assorted perishable and non-perishable groceries to give back to the community and help those who need them most.

Interested individuals can pre-register for a pick-up time online. Items will be available free of cost while supplies last only, and all registrations will be anonymous and only collected for check-in purposes.

Lawrenceville Main Street

Shining a Light 

Lawrenceville Main Street is all lit up for the season! From the hanging baskets on Main Street to wreath making workshops and the gazebo lighted with luminaries, it’s impossible to be a Grinch walking around this winter wonderland. Lawrenceville Main Street is also offering a fun walk-thru town game for the whole family from December 19 through January 16 from 10 am to 8 pm. Download your game sheet on the Lawrenceville Main Street website. After you’ve spotted all the snow friends, drop off your game sheet at Fedora’s Café on Main Street to receive a complimentary special holiday treat.

Lawrenceville Main Street

Toys for the Holidays
The First Responders Children’s Foundation Toy Express has donated thousands of holiday toys and masks to the Cranford Fire and Police Departments to be distributed Thursday, December 24th at the Cranford Fire Department. Pre-registered families with children ages three to twelve will drive through to collect their packages of holiday cheer, and over 1,000 toys are expected to be given.