Holiday Express

 In Ocean Mental Health Services

Holiday Express 

By: Gregory A. Clewell                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12244336_10153321957659220_4265839925645624146_o

I try to regularly attend all of Ocean Mental Health Services (OceanMHS) fine functions. I get to see other consumers and clients some of whom I’ve known since the early 90’s. I like to see people doing well, so many of us are, and have come a very long way thanks to OceanMHS. I particularly enjoy the Holiday Express Christmas Parties. I’ve been coming for 18 years. So long the band talks to me while the show is going on!  The band consists of Tim McLoone and a changing collection of musicians from some of the hottest bands on the Jersey Shore. Bobby Bandiera has played many years, he has played for Bon Jovi. The event has really grown. The first year I went was in like ’98 and it was held in a small church in Pt Pleasant and we had pizza. The food is always amazing. Donated by the likes of Jersey Mike’s and the Windmill. I have been on a strict vegetarian diet for the past 2 years and they have even had veggie burgers for me and others that don’t eat meat. There is a raffle where nice prizes can be won. Everyone gets a duffle bag full of useful items every year. Lots of people like to dance and there are songs where everyone gets to participate. Santa and Dr. Seuss’s Grinch always make an appearance. There is holiday face painting. Besides the musicians there are many others who volunteer their time to try to bring us some holiday cheer. We are really lucky. It meant the most to me sometimes when my illness was at its worse because I didn’t always go to my dad’s and stepmom’s for Christmas like I usually do nowadays. There is really no way for me to express how grateful I am.  😉  gregory.a..clewell

Delivering Human Kindness – Holiday Express 

Holiday Express visits more than 90 organizations every year between mid-November and Christmas Eve, bringing its unique brand of music, food, presents, hope and joy and much more to those in need of the gift of human kindness.

Comprised of more than 2,000 volunteers, including 150 professional singers and musicians, Holiday Express visits adults and children in need, including the mentally and physically disabled, the isolated, individuals in addiction and recovery programs, the poor and the homeless, veterans, and children with serious illnesses.

For many of the organizations Holiday Express visits, traditional sources of funding are not sufficient to provide basic needs. We also provide a gift bag – a well-stocked canvas duffel bag of brand new, useful and practical items, including a warm blanket, toiletries, gloves, hat, and scarf. Each season, volunteers pack and distribute over 24,000 gift bags.

Our programs strive to affirm the human dignity of all individuals. The criteria is simple: Holiday Express delivers to the source of the greatest human hardship. To learn more about Holiday Express and their mission visit http://holidayexpress.org/

Holiday Express and OceanMHS over the years…

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