Donated toys and gift cards to benefit children of military families

From left: Michael Attardi, Sr., Daniel Dermer, director of the Navy League Angel Program, and Michael Attardi Jr., load Christmas gifts to be donated to children of local U.S. Navy and Coast Guard service members. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL ATTARDI

MANASQUAN — A popular holiday event will repeat on Saturday, Dec. 4, when volunteers from several groups, including the Central Jersey Navy League, gather at the Salty Whale and Guesthouse to welcome donors to the second year of a toy and gift drive for families of local U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard service members.

“This year, the honorable Boy Scouts from Troop 59 of Manasquan will be Santa’s helpers, along with Wall Township High School National Honor Society Students, several NFL Players and the Manasquan PBA [Local 284],” said Michael Attardi, one of four former National Football League players who will greet donors at the Salty Whale and Guesthouse, 390 East Main St., Manasquan, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Mr. Attardi, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders, will be joined by Tim Wright, a Wall High School graduate who played for the New England Patriots, Al Singleton, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Thom Huff, who played for the Washington NFL franchise.


All items collected will benefit the Central Jersey Navy League of the United States’ Angel Program, which creates local events to support local military children, said Mr. Attardi. There is a particular need this year for gift cards, as there are many children ages 12 and over among the military families that will benefit. One such donation, of 30 $10 gift cards, made by Kitchen 35 on Route 35 in Manasquan, was greatly appreciated, he said Tuesday.

Toys and gift cards can still be dropped off at the following locations: Manasquan Municipal Building, 201 East Main St., Manasquan Public Library, 55 Broad St., The Coast Star main office, 13 Broad St., Cluck U Chicken, 2241 NJ-35, Spirit of ‘76 Wines & Liquors, 119 Taylor Ave., Men’s Consignment, 75 Main St., Bubbakoo’s Burritos 233 East Main St., and Wall Township High School, 1630 18th Ave. 

Volunteers for Saturday’s event include Mr. Attardi’s son Nate, a member of the Wall High School Honor Society, and fellow Wall honor students Gabby Clark and Kim Hubbard.

Nate Attardi, who is also a Navy League member, is described by his father as my right-hand person, handing out all the boxes and posters and helping me every step of the way.”

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