Students “Wrap Up” 2017 by Donating 1,700 Toys to Local Kids

Be the Change, a community service and activism group at Kean University, held its fifth annual toy drive, collecting more than 1,700 toys and books for children in local communities, many of whom are at risk for gang violence and substance abuse. Toy donations came in from across Kean’s campus in an effort that included support from the Hillside Girl Scouts troop. 
On Thursday, December 15, more than 40 volunteers, including student-athletes from the women’s basketball team, fraternity and sorority members, and other Kean students came together at the Miron Student Center to wrap the presents in preparation for delivery. Gifts included board games, dolls, hula-hoops and other toys for kids of all ages. Later that day, the Girl Scouts troop organized the distribution of the wrapped gifts.
“I’m so grateful to be able to provide a happy holiday for so many children in our Newark Garden Impact areas, the Bethel Church in Lakewood and the St. Elizabeth’s Churches in Elizabeth and Hillside,” said Jessica Fernandez, graduate assistant for Be the Change. 
Be the Change at Kean University serves the needs of local, state, national and global communities year round. Along with their annual toy drive, the group has also conducted “Santa to the Streets” events where the man in red visits high crime neighborhoods to give presents to children. They participate in other activities that support individuals and families in need, including their regular “PB&J” initiative in which they feed the homeless population at train stations in Newark and New York.
Be the Change believes in a "hands on" approach and building partnerships to affect positive change. Volunteers both in and outside of  Kean University are encouraged to donate their efforts to the organization’s mission. For more information, email

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