Making the Winter Season a Little Warmer and a Lot Jollier: SMGF Partners with Friends for Coat and Toy Drives

This winter, SMGF and employees of Summit Medical Group are working with partner organizations to make the season warmer and jollier. In partnership with the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges (IFPO), SMGF held a coat drive, for children and adults. More than 150 gently used coats were donated.

The IFPO provides food to low-income residents of Orange and East Orange, serving nearly 2,000 people a week. Through the years, they’ve found that many of their clients come from warmer climates and are unprepared for the cold winter months in New Jersey. “We do not want our clients to have to decide between feeding themselves and their families or purchasing a coat,” explained Diane Stein, Board Member of IFPO. Because of this, they have been holding a coat drive at Thanksgiving for more than five years. “We will have more than 550 clients on Nov. 23, where we will be handing out Thanksgiving food and all of our clients will have the opportunity to pick a coat for themselves or a family member,” Stein said.

Having a warm coat during cold weather is something many people don’t have to worry about. But clearly, the need for this drive is tremendous. “We see it as an incredible way for community members to help provide a necessity to other families during these bitter winter months,” added SMGF Executive Director, Joe Finocchiaro. And thanks to another sponsor, ImageFirst, all donated coats will be cleaned before being distributed to children and adults in New Jersey.

In addition, thanks to the generosity of Summit Medical Group and Summit Health Management employees, who have participated in our monthly dress down Fridays or contributed loose change in our coin bins, we were able to provide more than 1,800 lbs of turkeys to families at the IFPO.

Coats are not the only commodity needed during the coming months. Every child also deserves a bright and happy holiday season, which is why SMGF and Summit Medical Group employees are partnering with the Victor Cruise Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Patterson and Passaic to host a toy drive, which began Nov. 21. The organizations are asking for new toys for children ages five to 16, all of which will be provided to the Club for distribution. Last year, the program brought smiles to the faces of more than 1,200 children. The organizations are hoping to make an even larger impact this year.

“The simple fact is that many of our families do not have the resources to purchase gifts for their children,” expressed Wendy Schwamb, Boys and Girls Club Chief Development and Marketing Officer. She went on to say, “Participating in this event means that the true meaning of the holidays will be evident throughout the Boys & Girls Club and each child will have at least one toy from Santa. By including all of our kids and their families, we know that each child will feel special and that every parent will feel supported.”

This holiday season, give back to a community member in need. If you are interested in donating a toy, please feel free to call 908.277.8788 or email

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