A O.K.'s 14th Annual Gifts for Giving Events, December 5th, 6th, and 15th
When A O.K. first started back in 2002, they started with one event and 10 children. This year, they have organized 5 events and over 200 children experienced what it means to 'give' rather than to 'receive.' The first three events took place December 5th at the Dr. Mennies School in Vineland, NJ, at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Turnersville, NJ, and at Toyota of Turnersville, In Washington Twp-Williamstown, NJ. There were sponsors and volunteers assisting 25-35 children from the local communities at each event. From getting to know each other over pizza, to shopping together at the local Wal-Mart, the experience is one in a million. The last event of the weekend on the 6th was held at Rowan University where 94 student-athletes participated in the event lead by Assistant Athletic Director Dave Naphy.
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The Toyota of Turnersville event was organized by longtime A O.K. volunteer, Susan Citrino and sponsored by Jason Skinner, GM at Toyota of Turnersville. Jason and Toyota graciously hosted the event at the Toyota facility.
Santa seemed to make his way to each event, even during this very busy time of year for him.
The 5th and final event of the year, on December 15th, at the West End Memorial Elementary School in Woodbury, NJ, hosted another 30 or so children. AOK co-founder Pete Eobbi and his wife Kristen organized the event as all three of their girls attend school in the Woodbury district. They also organized a Chick-fil-A fundraiser where you can purchase a $30+ tray of nuggets for $25 and $10 goes to AOK to help the children and their families.
If interested in a tray, there is still time to order (through 12/15) - just email email@example.com.
A OK's 11th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event, December 1st 2012
After 10 years of growing the Holiday Gifts for Giving event to almost a hundred kids and families, A OK split our efforts into 3 separate events, at 3 locations, all on the same day! On December 1st, 2012 events were held simultaneously in Vineland, Glassboro, and Washington Township. This was only possible through the wonderful support from all of the sponsors, volunteers, teachers, parents, and of course our children that have helped out through the years. The faculty at the Dr. Mennies School in Vineland has been holding their event almost on their own for years. And now the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro has done the same. And of course A OK held our own internally run event at St. Charles Borremeo Catholic Church in Washington Twp. With the necessary advance preparation, we are happy to report that all three events went extremely well, helped over 125 kids and their families celebrate the holiday season and provided many necessities that we all at times take for granted.
In addition to the regularly scheduled events, an additional 8 families were surprised with multiple Santa sized bags filled with gifts under their tree, through the generosity and efforts of the Graham Company in Center City Philadelphia. Employees at the Graham Company, some of whom had participated in prior A OK events, raised funds and purchased and wrapped gifts for families identified by A OK. The gift bags were then distributed by A OK to those families in time for Christmas morning.
In all, over $18,000 was raised and spent on families in need, helping over 130 kids across South Jersey in the process. This was by far the largest effort A OK has undertaken to date. And with future support from all of you, we hope to continue to grow. We have already identified a potential 4th event/location in Williamstown, NJ for Dec. 7th 2013 and look forward to more events in even more towns in the future!
If you or anyone you know are interested in helping organize an event in your area, please just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply give us a call at 856-232-1680.
NOTE: Our Gifts for Giving Event is held annually on the 1st Saturday in December!
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AOK's 10th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event, December 2011
AOK has come a long way since 2002 when we started our "Gifts for Giving" tradition, taking 10 children shopping at Wal-Mart after a quick lunch at the adjacent McDonalds. Our 10th annual event, held two consecutive Saturdays (Dec 3rd in Vineland and Dec 10th in Glassboro) marked the largest Gifts for Giving yet. AOK donors, friends and family spent all afternoon on consecutive Saturdays during the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping with over 100 kids from five underprivileged communities across Gloucester and Camden Counties. AOK helped over 100 less fortunate families enabling their children to shop for "needed" gifts for them. This was the second year the Glassboro Event was held at Rowan University Click Here for Glassboro Event Article. The Rowan Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) has taken a huge role in the Glassboro Event's success and the organization plans to run the event in 2012 with AOK's support.
With the support from many of our AOK donors, friends and family, over $12,000 was raised and spent on families in need. Approximately 300 people attended, 80 pizzas were eaten, and around 750 gifts were purchased and wrapped. A great time was had by all, spending quality time with the kids and helping their families at the same time. The first-hand feeling of GIVING is what makes our event unique, and well worth it. AOK's message "It really is better to GIVE than to receive" has always been the cornerstone of the event.
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AOK Presentation at Glassboro High School Pride Camp, August 2009
AOK participated in a Summer Pride Camp for students at Glassboro High School. Pete and Pete delivered their presentation, had lunch with some students, and answered questions geared towards the concept of "determination" Click Here for Presentation
AOK Presentation at Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar - NJ, June 09
AOK founders Pete Eobbi and Pete Mauro have been presenting at this HOBY seminar for 8 years running now, also serving as members for entrepreneurial panels and delivering key note speeches. This year their presentation also included a goal setting workshop for the students. This NJ branch of the HOBY program pulls together top High School sophomores from all over the state. With over 300 students this year, Pete and Pete enjoyed presenting to such a large audience and the presentation seemed to be very well received again. Some of the students are even planning to help out with the AOK Holiday Gift for Giving Event this coming holiday season. Click Here for Presentation
AOK's 7th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event, December 2008
A O.K. experimented with its 7th annual GFG Event. The normal event was split into two separate days, one traditional day with the Vineland community and one day teaming with a Miles Technologies event in Moorestown, NJ for the children in Glassboro and Williamstown, NJ areas. Both days were extremely rewarding and continued the support needed in some of our local communities. A number of volunteers from Miles Technologies and the Dr. Mennies School were instrumental in this year's events. Approximately $10,000 worth of clothing and gifts were purchased for the children and their families. As the event continues to grow, we hope to turn this into something that all local communities can run with the help of A O.K. and/or their respective local organizations. But for now we are just happy to maintain positive momentum within our local South Jersey area. Click Here for Photos
AOK's 6th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event, December 2007
Six years and counting and the number of children helped continues to grow. AOK held its Gifts for Giving Event where almost 80 children were taken on a shopping spree to buy gifts for their families for the holidays. This year's event was again held at St. Charles Borromeo Church. Children from Glassboro, Williamstown and Vineland were chaperoned by sponsors consisting of AOK friends and family along with a number of teachers and volunteers from Miles Technologies, the Dr. Mennies School and Newfield Bank. Approximately $8000 worth of clothing and gifts were purchased for the children and their families. Click Here for Photos
AOK’s 5th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event December 2nd, 2006
For the fifth year in a row, AOK held its Gifts for Giving Event where almost 70 children were taken on a shopping spree to buy gifts for their families for the holidays. This year’s event was again held at St. Charles Borromeo Church. Children from Glassboro, Williamstown and Vineland were chaperoned by sponsors consisting of AOK friends and family along with a number of teachers and volunteers from Miles Technologies, the Dr. Mennies School and Newfield Bank. A big THANKS goes out to Wal-Mart, who hosted the shopping spree and donated One Thousand Dollars ($1000.00) to fund the busses, lunch, and gift wrapping materials. Also very appreciated was the discount given to us from Kay-B Toys in the Wal-Mart shopping Center so the kids were able to pick out a gift for themselves. Approximately $7000 worth of clothing and gifts were purchased for the children and their families.
Special thanks go out to Leslie Smith and Mary Ann Mauro for all of their organization and support getting ready for this year’s event. We could not have had such a great event this year without their efforts, and of course, the generosity and efforts of each participant and donor. A Big Thank You goes out to all of you from all the children and their families and all of us at A O.K.!
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Uncle Pete's Forth Annual Kids Party June 2006
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AOK’s 4th Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event December 3rd, 2005
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Uncle Pete's Third Annual Kids Party May 2005
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AOK’s 2nd Annual Fall Fundraiser November 14th, 2004
For the second year in a row, AOK raised funds for the Holiday Gifts for Giving Event. Friends and family gathered together at the Outback Steakhouse in Washington Township, NJ and raised over $2000. Everyone enjoyed a great meal thanks to the generosity of Mike Verges, who graciously hosted our event this year. Funds raised enabled AOK to more than double the number of children able to participate in the Gifts for Giving Event this year.
Thanks to all who participated and to our sponsors. Special thanks go out to Mary Ann Mauro of AOK and Susan Citrino of TWT Lions Club for their fundraising efforts. Click Here for Photos
AOK’s 3rd Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event December 4th, 2004
For the third year in a row, AOK held its Gifts for Giving Event where over 50 children were taken on a shopping spree to buy gifts for their families for the holidays. This year’s event was held at the Dr. Mennies Grammar School in Vineland, NJ. Children from both Glassboro and the Dr. Mennies School were chaperoned by sponsors consisting of AOK friends and family along with a number of teachers and volunteers from the Mennies school. In addition to helping the children purchase gifts for their families, the day focused on simply spending time with them. The day started with lunch (30 pizzas donated by Pizza Bella) in the school cafeteria where the children and sponsors met and got to know each other. After lunch, we loaded the 3 busses up and headed to the Vineland Wal-Mart for holiday shopping. The day ended with some gift wrapping, pictures and a surprise gift for each child donated by Toys-4-Tots of South Jersey.
Approximately $5000 worth of clothing and gifts were purchased for the children and their families. Everyone enjoyed a great day, and hopefully through it all a message was delivered to the children: To Give is better than to Receive.
Special thanks go out to Leslie Smith and the entire Guidance Department at the Dr. Mennies School for organizing much of the activity at the school, Susan Citrino of the TWT Lions Club for her support in the event (bringing 10 sponsors) and to Mary Ann Mauro of AOK for acquiring and wrapping the surprise gifts for the kids. This event would not have been nearly as successful if not for the diligent efforts of each of them. Click Here for Photos
AOK Presents at Camden and Paulsboro High Schools December 2004
Co-founders, Pete Eobbi and Pete Mauro continued delivering “Life Skills” presentations to both Paulsboro and Camden Creative Arts High Schools. This year marked AOK’s 3rd visit to Paulsboro and 2nd visit to Camden. Teachers Michelle Pilla and Howard Hornstein of Camden and Patti Delavecchia and Gina Morina of Paulsboro were all extremely pleased with the students’ participation and response to the presentation. Pete and Pete communicated AOK’s message “It’s not WHAT you want to become in life, but WHO” that matters. The presentations consisted of Pete and Pete’s own personal experiences and concentrated on principles such as Confidence, Responsibility, Integrity, Balance, and the importance of Relationships. Click Here for Photos | Click Here for Presentation
Uncle Pete's Second Annual Kids Party May 2004
Check out Uncle Pete's HUGE kids party that he throws every year in his backyard. Uncle Pete has a magician, a baloon maker, a face painter, snow cones...you name it, he has it there! Click Here for Photos
AOK’s 2nd Annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Event December 2003
An Opportunity’s Knockin’, Inc. held its 2nd Annual Gifts for Giving Event on the Saturday before Christmas. The goal in 2003 was to double the amount of kids from ’02 and hold the event in a bigger area than the Hollybush facility. Both goals were accomplished with 20 children from Hollybush Gardens participating and the event being held at St. Charles Borromeo in Whitman Square. AOK Coordinator, St. Charles Parishioner and retired Hollybush Gardens Neighborhood Coordinator Mary Ann Mauro was able to get the church to hold the event in their basement this year. There, the kids were able to eat lunch (pizzas and soda) and get to know their sponsors. The sponsors also had the chance to get a list of items to shop for before heading to Wal-Mart. We also had a bus this year which took everyone from St. Charles to the Washington Township Wal-Mart. The day ended back at the Church with gift wrapping, pictures and a surprise gift for each child donated by Michael Venuto of Cherry Hill, NJ. Approximately $2500 in gifts were purchased for the children and their families. With the event doubling this year it was important to be more organized. The goal for ’04 is to double again in size. Thanks to all who participated, the day would not be possible without you. Click Here for Photos
Uncle Pete's 1st Annual Kids Party May 2003
The idea behind the Kidís party is celebrating all the kidís birthdays at once. With so many little ones in my life and new little ones arriving every year its virtually impossible to be there for all their big days. So, why not throw a party for all the kids and enjoy a day in the sun before the summer starts. We have a magician, a balloon maker, characters, a face painter, snow cone machine, moon bounces...you name it, itís there! Just watching al the kidís faces as they enjoy the characters and all the fun is worth a million bucks. Hopefully everyone can bring their kids every year. Click Here for Photos
AOKís 1st Holiday Gifts for Giving Event December, 2002
An Opportunityís Knockiní, Inc. (AOK) held its 1st ever Gifts for Giving Event where 10 children from Hollybush Gardens in Glassboro, NJ were taken on a shopping spree to buy gifts for their families for the holidays. The children were chaperoned for the day by sponsors consisting of AOK friends and family. The day started with lunch at McDonalds, then shopping at the Washington Township Wal-Mart and ended with gift wrapping, pictures and a surprise gift for each child back at the Hollybush Gardens Neighborhood Network Center, run by Mary Ann Mauro. Approximately $1000 in gifts were purchased for the children and their families. Everyone who participated had a great time and expressed the desire to not only make the event again next year but to help out in organizing it. Thanks to all who participated and helped get this annual event off the ground. Click Here for Photos