During this particular time of year, the adage stands true: it is better to give than to receive. In the spirit of giving, Gregory Bell and his team of volunteers put together their 6th annual toy and coat drive for the children of Trenton on December 17th, 2022. During the event, over 100 Trenton children received presents and winter accessories to help them kick off the winter season. In Trenton, where many children may not be guaranteed a gift on Christmas morning, events like these help to create precious holiday memories for our city’s youngest residents. After six years and no signs of slowing down any time soon, Bell and his team are determined to bring holiday magic to Trenton kids year after year.
When asked what inspired this event, Bell stated, “I come from a fraternity, and one of our models is culture for service and service to humanity. I say that to say it’s always been about giving back, reaching down, and helping others less fortunate than myself. That’s innate in me; it’s not something someone has to tell me to do.” He noted, “I just try to extend myself and give back; it’s better to give than to receive.”
While discussing the day of the event, Bell noted, “The atmosphere was great – I would have to say we saw over 100 kids when all was said and done. We serviced a lot of kids that day with toys, coats, and other accessories such as scarves, hats, and gloves. My fraternity brother donated a bike and a couple of scooters. My wife, my sister, and I, out of our own pockets, bought toys to disperse to the kids. I’ve had great, great supporters.”
Another key supporter of this event is Pastor Russell Fox of Wayne Avenue Baptist Church. To help support this fantastic initiative, Pastor Fox donated some beautiful winter coats for the children to enjoy. Much of the gift-giving was done by Santa’s helpers, Wilena Reeves Bell and Mary Warner, who stayed for hours arranging and passing out presents. Truly a labor of love from start to finish, there is no doubt this event was a holiday highlight for dozens of Trenton youth.
Upon reflecting on his favorite moments of the day, Bell stated, “Well, for me, to sum up, the day, what does it for me and what I get out of it is to see the kid’s faces. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces is priceless. That made it all worthwhile to me, knowing that they appreciate it. I will continue to do this as long as I’ve got breath in my lungs.”
If you’re feeling inspired and want to be a part of this fantastic initiative, it is not too soon to start thinking about next year. Per Bell, “Anyone that would like to can donate unwrapped toys or coats, accessories like hats, scarves, t-shirts, things that kids would need anywhere from infants up to 15 years old. They can also give donations, which would go towards purchasing those items.” If you have any questions or want to be a part of next year’s festivities, please get in touch with Gregory Bell at (609) 540-7768 for additional details on how to get started. If you decide to get involved, know that any contribution, big or small, can transform a child’s holiday for the better.