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Recap: Oakland's 2022 Toys for Tots Event!

The 2022 Toys for Tots Operation Toy Train was a huge success this year bringing in over 3,000 toys from 50 local businesses and 60 local schools. The Oakland Chamber of Commerce is thrilled with the support this community has shown for children in need this holiday season.

Marc Fox, the Chamber of Commerce Director for this event and owner of Soccer Shots Bergen West, works most of the year preparing for the Operation Toy Train to roll through Oakland. The Chamber began dropping off boxes to businesses the first week of November. In a little over one month, every year, this community comes together and delivers something magical. When Santa arrives on the train and greets the crowd, his elves (Operation Toy Train/Toys for Tots representatives, and U.S. Marine Corps Reserves), get to work loading the cars with all the boxes. This year we were proud to have local residents, business owners and students assisting in the shuffle.

Heights Student Council members, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts Pack 49 in Oakland shared the work with Chad Busch (manager of Columbia Bank), Oakland Fire Department, Oakland Police Department, Chopper Russo of RE/MAX to name a few. The Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone for lending a hand.

Saturday's event was not shy of good spirits. While Coffee Roasters Inc. handed out hot chocolate and fresh coffee, Mike's Dog House passed out delicious hot dogs to all who attended. Oakland Public Events provided the food and beverages which all enjoyed as they stood in line for Santa. As the children, pets and adults gave "The Big Guy" their holiday wishes, Oakland's professional photographer Emily Kern snapped memory making pics that can be viewed HERE.

Each participant was handed a goodie bag, compliments of Visions Federal Credit Union and Columbia Bank. From Goodie Girl cookies courtesy of Toufayan Bakeries, coupons for your next visit to U-Paint in the Copper Tree Plaza, and many other businesses who participated in this year's collection — this grab bag was not to be missed!

With another year for the books, we would like to thank everyone who donated, collected and volunteered to make this day a success. We look forward to another successful Toys for Tots Operation Toy Train event in 2023!

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce extends heartfelt Thank You's to the many businesses who participated. See below (in alphabetical order):

American Woman Fitness Center, Bagel Supreme of Oakland, barre3, Bethany Community Center, Christie's International Real Estate, Club Pilates Oakland, Club Pilates Wayne, Columbia Bank, CrossFit 201, Crystal Lake Beach Club, Dance Theatre of NJ, Dunkin Donuts, Fountain Fitness Center, Frank's Pizza Oakland, Franklin Lakes Public Library, Hunterdon Learning Center, Inking Out Loud, JD's Deli & Grille, J-B Pet Supplies, Keller Williams Prosperity, Kessler Rehabilitation Center inWayne, Mahwah Public Library, Oakland Library, PopCentury Collectibles, Ramsey Public Library, Real Brave, RE/MAX Traditions Real Estate, Revival Health, Roast'd Coffee, ShopRite Oakland, Sunrise Senior Living, TeamK K Taekwondo, The Soccer Post, The Spotted Dog, Tons of Toys, Uncle Louie's, UPaint Studio, and Visions Federal Credit Union.

Thank you to all of the volunteers and business owners who have helped us — Anthony Pietropaolo from APL Masonry for letting us borrow trees for our Santa photo booth, and JD's Deli for Santa's chair. Special thanks to Lawn Doctor of North Morris, North Passaic, Central & South Bergen County for storing our Toys for Tots boxes in their warehouse; to the Oakland Fire Department for allowing us to store the toys, and also where we counted & boxed them up. They were also very generous with their time to pick up boxes for us, and deliver them the morning of. Volunteers assisting in the counting / sorting included members of the OCoC as well as students from Indian Hills, Ramapo College, Bergen Community College, and De Paul Catholic HS.

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