The Paper Mill Playhouse will hold two initiatives to help the needy in New Jersey this holiday season. An announcement was made by Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director and Todd Schmidt-Managing Director, that for the 17th year, the Paper Mill Playhouse will partner with Jersey Cares as a collection site for their winter coat drive. New and gently used coats can be dropped off during the run of Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of “Oliver!” through December 29.
“Paper Mill Playhouse is thrilled to partner once again with Jersey Cares for their annual coat drive,” stated Todd Schmidt. “When two not-for-profit organizations come together to serve the community, there is true holiday magic.”
Paper Mill Playhouse has had a long-term partnership with Jersey Cares hosting an annual coat drive. Over the past 17 years, Jersey Cares has collected, sorted and distributed thousands of winter coats to New Jersey residents in need through this program. The donated winter coats benefit at-risk men, women, children, and infants in our area. Last season Paper Mill Playhouse patrons contributed over 400 coats to this worthy cause.
The second initiative will be collecting non-perishable food items to be distributed to area food pantries for their “Food, Glorious Food” Drive. The “Food, Glorious Food” Drive was an idea that came from 12-year-old actor Chance Friedman of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, who plays an orphan in “Oliver!” The young actor said, “I'm having the time of my life singing Food, Glorious Food, but the sad truth is that even in these modern times, people in our community go hungry each day. I'd like to do my part to fight hunger and I could use your help. When you come to see “Oliver!” this holiday season, please bring a non-perishable food item and drop it in the ‘Food, Glorious Food’ drive bin in the lobby of the theater. Make a donation, and consider yourself part of our hunger-fighting family."
“Paper Mill Playhouse is thrilled to host our ‘Food, Glorious Food’ Drive and once again partner with Jersey Cares for their annual coat drive,” said John Anderson, Paper Mill’s Outreach Coordinator. “Through the generosity of our patrons, we will be able to give back to many New Jersey residents this holiday season.”
In addition to the food drive efforts, the design team of “Oliver!” considered those less fortunate while finding footwear for the 49 cast members in the production. Shoes purchased for the production were ordered from Toms and from Bob’s Shoes. For every shoe purchased, these companies donate a shoe to a child in a developing country. “The workhouse orphans in ‘Oliver!’ needed a good homespun-type uniform shoe,” stated costume designer Amanda Seymour. “We thought how perfect the look of Toms and Bob’s are for this production, and how fitting that for every shoe purchased, one went to a child in need.”
Any person that donates a coat or non-perishable food item will be rewarded with a Paper Mill Playhouse 75th Anniversary scratch-off game ticket for a chance to win valuable prizes. Items will be collected in the main lobby at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, New Jersey.