On December 21st, for the 6th year and to the delight of 450 children and staff, Brothers Before Others sponsored the “Winter Wonderland”, which took place at the Early Childhood Learning Center (Phillipsburg, NJ). In reality, the event began the day before when a team of charity volunteers spent hours transforming the ECLC gym into a magical holiday scene.
Joined by their merry elves, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Grinch, Murray the Christmas Moose, Princess Belle and a team of volunteers, Mr. and Mrs. Claus did their merry best to bring smiles to everyone.
The day began with an early morning set up by volunteers from both the charity and the local community, fueled by coffee and sandwiches from our friends at Wawa. Once the festivities began, the smiles coming from both the children, staff and volunteers lit up the gymnasium like the North Star. Rudolph and Murray The Christmas Moose did their best to keep The Grinch in line. Nonetheless, he was up to his old tricks, stealing presents and starting snowball fights!
Based out of Phillipsburg, NJ, and comprised solely of active/retired police officers from all over the state and country, Brothers Before Others ensured that each student of The ECLC received a holiday hat, a light up necklace, a coloring book & crayons, Christmas snacks and, of course, a personal visit and photo with Santa, as well as an individual age/gender appropriate present.
Local volunteer, Danny Wismer, played the part of Santa while his daughter shined as ‘Peppermint’ the Elf. Princess Belle was played by Phillipsburg High School star Dani Finken. Phillipsburg resident and Police Officer/Volunteer Fireman Tim Burger and his wife, Dana, joined in as an elf & Santa’s helper.
All of the festivities, including the complimentary photo with Santa that each child will receive, were captured by local photographer, Joshua Bussey, who owns JLB Snap Photography and graciously donated his time and talent.
Among the volunteers and attendees were some very special guests who stopped by to lend their support for our efforts: Phillipsburg Mayor-Elect Randy Piazza, Lopatcong Mayor-Elect Bill Wright, Warren County Sheriff and BBO member Jim McDonald, Hardwick Mayor Chris Jacksic and Hardwick Deputy Mayor Nichole Meuse, The Vice Chair of the Phillipsburg Land Use Board Keith Zwicker, and Phillipsburg Board of Education member Vickie Mendes-Branch.
Brothers Before Others would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the entire staff of The ECLC, especially Principal Natalie Steckel , Community and Parent Involvement Specialist Sara Darmstadt, as well as the educational and janitorial staff. We are continuously humbled by and grateful for the trust placed in us by Phillipsburg School District Superintendent Dr Greg Troxell, the School Board and the parents of each student.
On behalf of our members, their families, and the entire law enforcement community, please have a safe and Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year!! If you find yourself struggling to find the holiday spirit, may we suggest watching the spontaneously started dance party that took place on Thursday. These are the kind of moments that make even the Grinch’s heart grow:
*To date Brothers Before Others Winter Wonderland has impacted over 2,400 Phillipsburg Children over the last 6 years at a cost of over $100,000. If you would like to donate to the cause or for information relating to becoming a corporate sponsor, please email Info@brothersbeforeothers.org *