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Program to Give Gifts to Those Who Can't Afford Them

United Way is collecting gifts for families in need.

It's that time of year to loosen the purse strings to buy gifts for the members of your family—but it's also the time to help those in need.

The , based in Bridgewater, is looking for residents to chip in for its annual Gifts of the Season and Wrapped in Love programs, sponsored by United Healthcare, according to a release from the organization.

The programs are designed to aid about 6,000 area individuals who are struggling while trying to purchase clothes and other items. United Way is working on the program in partnership with the Somerset County Board of Social Services and the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.

According to the release, through the program, gift tags are available with information about children, teens, senior citizens and adults in need. On those tags, the release said, are also holiday wish lists, and participants are asked to fulfill that list by getting a new unwrapped gift.

And then, according to the release, through the Wrapped in Love program, families can receive new or gently-used winter coats and apparel to allow them to use what funds they have for other basic needs.

“Despite our reputation as a wealthy county, United Way research shows that 28 percent of our households are not earning enough to be self-sufficient,” said Philip A. Brown III, chief professional officer of United Way of Northern New Jersey in Somerset County, in the release. “These numbers represent real people who face a daily challenge trying to keep up with their bills. We can help take some pressure off them this holiday season by providing a gift they couldn’t afford or a coat that helps them stay warm.”

The release said that the , on Route 202/206 in Bridgewater, is also participating in the program with a book donation drive—the program has been chosen to receive books that can be purchased at the store through Dec. 31.

And, the release said, on Nov. 29, a portion of proceeds from the store will be donated to United Way when buyers show a voucher.

United Way also accepts gift cards for wish lists not fulfilled.

For more information, call 908-725-6640, or visit the website.

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