hc hearts 1PHOTO: Eighth Grade Student Ambassadors left to right Bridget Johnston of Fair Haven, Brooke O’Malley of Locust and Clare Horowitz of Rumson with their decorated collection boxes ready for transport.

RUMSON, NJ – Friday, May 3rd marked the 2019 Diocese of Trenton Day of Service, in which Catholic schools throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer Counties come together for a massive service project called, “Hearts to Hospitals: Hearts to Lead – Hands to Help,” which provides thousands of gifts to hospitalized children and their families in local hospitals for the second year in a row.

hc hearts 2PHOTO: Second grader Charlotte Palmeri of Rumson shows the cards her class made to thank doctors and nurses for caring for children.

Holy Cross School’s efforts were led by its twenty 8th grade Student Ambassadors. Each Ambassador was assigned a homeroom from Pre K to 8th grade. Over spring break they decorated collection boxes with the Hearts to Hospitals logo, and on Tuesday, April 30th, they visited their assigned homerooms to deliver the collection boxes, tell each class what they were responsible for contributing, and get the students excited about the program.  On Friday, May 3rd, the Ambassadors collected the boxes, which were overflowing with crayons, markers, coloring books, story books, sketchpads, stuffed animals, and puzzles. They sorted the gifts and created gift bags for girls and boys, toddlers and teens. Each student also created cards of well wishes to children and thanks to doctors and nurses.

hc hearts 3PHOTO: Eighth Grade Student Ambassadors ready their gifts for transport to local hospitals. Left to right, Gianna Cofone of Rumson, Colin Cottrell of Rumson, Hunter Wackrow of Middletown(rear), Aidan Kane of Rumson, Dillon Martinez of Middletown, Stephen Makin of Rumson (rear), Margaret Hanlon of Atlantic Highlands , Michael Campanella of Rumson, Charlotte Dooley of Atlantic Highlands, Paige Jaenicke of Fair Haven, Bridget Johnston of Fair Haven, Justin Martinez, (rear), Peyton Lore of Rumson, Charlotte Trentalange of Leonardo, Lucy Goddard of Locust (rear), Clare Horowitz of Rumson, Juliet Peter of Atlantic Highlands, Matthew Bruno of Rumson, and Brooke O’Malley of Locust.

At the press conference held at the Diocese of Trenton Chancery in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, May 7th, representatives from the hospitals who received these generous gifts shared their thanks and admiration for the students of the Diocese of Trenton. They thanked student representatives from every school for making a difference in the lives of specific children and their families. They shared the many ways in which the children’s gifts from 2018 were used: birthday parties, breakfasts with Santa, calming fears at admission or testing time, just knowing that another child cares. Literally thousands of children who were scared to be admitted to the hospital or to undergo tests and evaluations have been comforted by this effort, and thanks to the generosity of the Catholic school students of the Diocese of Trenton, they will continue to be blessed with another year of comfort and love.