CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Mary Lynn Williams, 908-527-4346


Union County Tree Decorating Contest Spurs Countywide Giving

engineering & public works tree

Mountainside, NJ- The Union County Department of Parks, Recreation and Facilities sponsored its First Annual Tree Decorating Contest to help solicit gifts for needy families.  As a result Union County employees collected almost $8,000 worth of toys, gifts and clothing for donation to needy Union County families.

For years the Union County Human Services Department has sponsored a toy drive.  In recent years some of the corporate sponsorship was lost.  The Parks Department event supplemented the efforts of Human Services. The tree decorating contest was held December 2, at Watchung Stable in Mountainside, as part of the Holiday Lights Celebration and Charity Drive event.

"The tree decorating contest changed the whole dynamic of our toy raising efforts," said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski.  "This was truly a unique event; everyone got involved and the giving just snowballed."

County government departments were separated into 13 teams.  Each team was given a department-related theme and trees were decorated with themed items. Each team was responsible for collecting money and items to decorate the trees.

Modell's, Commerce Bank, BJ’s, ShopRite, and Wal-Mart donated sports equipment, gift cards, toys, food, or clothing items. Three Union County nurseries, Williams Nursery of Westfield, Parker Gardens of Scotch Plains, and Dreyer Farms of Cranford, each donated five trees for the contest.

The public was given the task of judging the best tree. This year the Department of Engineering and Public Works walked away with a 13-inch Perpetual Loving Cup Trophy for their rendition of Cars & Trucks. The trophy was a donation from Crown Trophy in Green Brook.

All of the items collected, including the Christmas trees and decorations, will be donated to families and non-profit organizations that serve families throughout the county.  Donations are based on need of the agency or family or a family’s request.

Union County employees will assist in sorting and distributing the items to agencies and families.  Distribution of the items will officially begin on December 13.