A young Santa

Seventh-grader Tori Tomlin, 12, of Goshen in Middle Township, ran a toy drive this holiday season. She collected enough gifts for a dozen children served through the Family Promise of Cape May County organzation. Parents Donna and Jeffrey Tomlin said Tori took the project on herself, and really enjoyed helping kids who were facing homelessness during the holidays.

Family Promise provides shelter, food, and assistance in finding permanent housing to families through a network of religious congregations and volunteers.

Helping cancer patients

Botttino's ShopRite stores throughout Cumberland County raised $5,366 this fall for the Livestrong program at the Vineland YMCA, the YMCA said. Livestrong is an exercise program designed for adult cancer patients who want to regain health and conditioning. The money was raised by cashiers selling Livestrong bracelets for $1 each.

The first session of Livestrong ended in December, and a new class will begin on Saturday. To enroll, call Lisa Scheetz at

856-691-0030, extension 325.

Food bank donation

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities collected two cartloads of groceries from staff and the public during its Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May. The food, and $750, was donated to the Cape May Community Food Closet. The cash contribution was raised by the MAC staff at its Dec. 8 Christmas party.

The food closet is located at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St.,Cape May. It provides supplemental groceries to people in need who live in Cape May, West Cape May, Cape May Point and a portion of Lower Township.

Rescue mission project

Students, faculty and staff in the Southern Regional School District collected 29,396 non-perishable food items during December for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

This was the 11th year for the project. The goal is for every person who comes to Southern to donate one item.

Gingerbread fundraiser

Seaview Resort's inaugural Gingerbread House Showcase and Competition raised more than $3000 for the Community Foodbank of New Jersey/Southern Branch at a dinner at the Galloway Township resort on Dec. 2.

Eleven of the area's most creative bakers participated, and the top three honors went to: First place Bally's Atlantic City Casino & Hotel, submitted by chef Steve Lockwood; second place Luscious & Sweet Bakery, submitted by Paige Puentes; and third place Tropicana Casino Hotel, submitted by chefs Karen Dalbora & Terry Wargo.

Helping through yoga

Yoga teachers from throughout South Jersey held a Winter Solstice Yoga Practice and Drum Circle on Dec. 22 at the Music Pier in Ocean City, and raised almost $1,700 for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch. About 110 people came out for the event, said organizer and yoga instructor Steve Mullen, of Northfield.

The practice was led by teachers Mullen, Michelle Whalen, of Ocean City; Melissa Goldstein, of New Jersey Yoga Zone in Margate; Giselle Toner, of Somers Point; and Nicole Cucinotta, of Haddonfield and Ocean City. Gina Roche, of Atlantic City, and Pamela Whitman, of Upper Township, provided live music.

Veterans Home party

Motorcycle club Fire Base Nam, MC, held a Christmas party for 83 residents of the Veterans Home in Vineland Dec. 21, complete with gifts and a visit from Santa, said organizer Robert Tesoroni, Jr., of Millville, a Marine Corps veteran from 1969-73.

Music was provided by Fire Base Nam President Jimmy Neher, of Vineland, also known D.J. Shades.

The Jersey Cape Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America sent a huge collection of holiday gifts to the U S Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy, one of five 110-foot Patrol Boats operating in the Persian Gulf. The postage alone for this mailing was about $150, said MOAA member Robert J. Familetti, of ?, a ? Colonel, USA (Ret) .

Helping collect the gifts were students of Noel Bethea, a teacher at the Margaret Mace School in North Wildwood and the congregation of the South Seaville United Methodist Church.

Cape May Court House orthodontist Jeffrey Vecere, who buys Halloween Candy collected by his patients, donated much of the 170 pounds of candy he amassed this year. The rest was donated to a Boy Scout Troop to dispense as they marched in the West Cape May Christmas Parade.