Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

The annual clothing drive and giveaway spearheaded by the youth group of St. Anselm Parish, Wayside, for five years running was infused with new help and enthusiasm this year by partnering with the youth group of Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune.

More than 60 teens volunteered throughout the Feb. 19-20 weekend in three locations. Clothing was collected for local families in need by both parishes and transported by the youth group families to Holy Trinity Church, Long Branch. The young volunteers folded, sorted and displayed the clothing for Free Clothing Giveaway. The event was announced to local families via the Holy Trinity Free Food Pantry with the help of Donna Cetrulo, member of Star of the Sea and Holy Trinity’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Many of the 150-some shoppers came directly after Sunday Masses, and were greeted by youth group volunteers who directed them to areas of clothing they needed, carried their bags, assisted with shopping and straightened merchandise.

Tamie Critelli, event organizer for St. Anselm, expressed gratitude for the volume of donations. “Entire families were clothed, and I hope that the word gets out to even more families next year,” she said.

“I hope both churches will continue to work together in many youth activities,” said Fran Burke, St. Anselm and Holy Innocents coordinator of religious education. “I’m grateful for the support of both pastors, Father Todd Carter of Holy Innocents and Father Eugene Vavrick of St. Anselm; both have been greatly involved in increasing youth [participation].”