Christmas Train Village raised more than $11K

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The Christmas Train Village, organized by Rich Clayton and Pete Casagrande of Clayton’s Limousine Service, closed for the season on Dec. 31. This year’s display drew 6,149 visitors and raised $11,500 for Common Ground Grief Center in Manasquan. MARK R. SULLIVAN THE COAST STAR

SPRING LAKE — The annual Spring Lake Christmas Train Village exhibit, which ran from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31, drew 6,149 visitors and raised $11,500 for Common Ground Grief Center in Manasquan.

Common Ground is a 501[c][3] nonprofit that supports children, teens, young adults and their families going through the grieving process after the loss of a loved one.

“It’s nice to know you’re doing something that people enjoy to see, but it’s also nice to know that someone is benefiting from our work. That’s what makes it all worth it,” said Rich Clayton, of Clayton’s Limousine Service who organizes the display each year with Pete Casagrande.

He added that he and Mr. Casagrande were thrilled by the generosity of businesses and visitors who contributed to the display’s success.

As the chair of Common Ground’s board of trustees, Mr. Clayton said he knows first-hand how much work the organization does. He added that since 2012, when he joined the board, the need for Common Ground’s services has grown steadily. 

“The need is so great and unfortunately the need is growing,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do as an organization to stop it, you just have to be there to help with the need.”

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