ProudLiving Companies ‘Hosts’ Third Annual Toy Drive for Local Families on Dec. 21 & 22

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New Jersey real estate company partners with East Orange Housing Authority & Sierra House to distribute over 600 gifts via individual home deliveries

ProudLiving’s 2019 holiday drive catered to 1,500 children and families. This year’s drive will be held Dec. 21 & 22. (Courtesy of ProudLiving Companies)

“Even in a challenging climate, the ProudLiving team is excited to carry on this holiday tradition. We always look forward to opportunities that allow us to put smiles on the faces of our tenants and community members,” said Isabel Hayden, vice president of the company’s charitable advancements.

ProudLiving Companies, a New Jersey-based real estate company with a mission of long-term neighborhood revitalization, is partnering with the East Orange Housing Authority (EOHA) and Sierra House for its third annual Toy Drive on Monday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Given the COVID-19 climate, ProudLiving’s team of volunteers will make contactless deliveries to almost 1,000 pre-registered children and families.

According to ProudLiving President and Founder TJ Caleca, the annual event, while a different format this year, continues to grow, thanks in part to an expanding infrastructure and donor base. He added, “For the health and safety of our volunteers and community, we have worked to transform our outreach. With the assistance of our generous donors and all of our volunteers, we will be able to continue this important tradition.”

The two-day event will kick-off with a Santa-themed “caravan” starting at East Orange City Hall, escorted by the East Orange Police Department. Social-distanced photo opportunities with Santa will be available at multiple stops.

According to Caleca, ProudLiving Companies and partner organizations collected more than 650 toys for this year’s drive. The event is open to any families that need assistance during the holiday season – especially in a year complicated by the public health crisis and economic fallout.

“It’s important that Isabel Hayden, our VP of ProudLiving Foundation, is recognized for her commitment and effort to this cause,” Caleca added. “I throw a lot of ideas in her direction throughout the year and she is the one who ultimately orchestrates these incredible events.”

In previous years, a traditional, in-person holiday event catered to 1,500 children and families.

Local organizations including Sierra House and the EOHA will also donate toys. Sierra House is a nonprofit that provides housing to homeless youth, assists working families with affordable housing and teaches life skills to children with developmental disabilities. The EOHA, an event sponsor, similarly works to enhance quality of life through partnerships, social services and sustainable housing opportunities.

The event emcee and EOHA Director of Operations, Elena D. Coley, added, “The EOHA is proud to partner with ProudLiving and expand our service reach within the community – to further our mission of holistically enhancing quality of life. While 2020 was a challenge all around, we’re thrilled to be able to help put forward a positive and equally impactful community event this holiday season.”

“Even in a challenging climate, the ProudLiving team is excited to carry on this holiday tradition. We always look forward to opportunities that allow us to put smiles on the faces of our tenants and community members,” said Hayden, vice president of the company’s charitable advancements. “Being able to provide a bit of normalcy or a positive impact on someone during this holiday season makes our event a clear success.”

Caleca shared: “This has been a very unique year, to put it mildly. But, with every challenge comes a new opportunity for growth, learning and a display of character. I genuinely appreciate these times as they truly afford us a chance to further demonstrate our commitment to the company’s mission and to the people we are ultimately responsible to.”

“Anyone can look good in three feet of water; it’s only when caught in a storm that we can separate the swimmers from the drifters,” he said. “We couldn’t be more excited about this year’s event and take great pride in embracing and ‘swimming through the storm,’ together.”

Last month, ProudLiving Companies donated 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys in a partnership with five New Jersey municipalities – another social-distanced holiday event that found staffers safely distributing turkeys to members of the Essex County community.

About ProudLiving Companies
ProudLiving Companies is a vertically integrated owner and manager of real estate. Focused on multifamily and mixed-use real estate in New Jersey, the company seeks to acquire deep value-add real estate assets and dramatically improve them. ProudLiving currently owns and manages more than 1,000 apartment units and is always seeking attractive acquisition opportunities. Recently, ProudLiving collected enough land to develop over 2,500 new construction units. The company prides itself on taking on previously neglected real estate assets and developing their full potential. ProudLiving also continues its relentless pursuit of being the bar in which social responsibility and continuous professional achievement are measured, following Caleca’s mentality of, “Just do more.” For more information, visit http://www.proudliving.com.

About the East Orange Housing Authority (in Conjunction with EOHCD)
The mission of the East Orange Housing Authority (EOHA) is to holistically enhance quality of life through partnerships, social services and sustainable housing opportunities. The EOHA’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Public Housing programs are both recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as high-performing programs. EOHA owns or operates over 350 housing units located on four sites within the City of East Orange, with Vista Village and Concord Towers exclusively dedicated to servicing senior and disabled residents. EOHA, in conjunction with East Orange Housing and Community Development (EOHDC), is actively expanding its portfolio with the acquisition of property for new housing developments that will provide 300 units of affordable housing to meet the growing demand within the community. EOHA is also proud to offer resident and participant programs and services that enhance their quality of life along with their nationally recognized and award-winning “Best Practices” programs that offer their participants security deposit assistance to secure housing and the opportunity to earn scholarships to attend college. For more information about EOHA visit http://www.eoha.org and follow their Facebook page at “East Orange Housing Authority.”

About Sierra House
Sierra House Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the prospects of individual achievement for youth, low to moderate income families and homeless young adults through housing, education and community services, and thereby contributing to the long-term stability of the community. Currently, Sierra House consists of three programs: the Sierra House Transitional Program, Sierra House Neighborhood Improvement Program and the Sierra House Family Support Services. Its programs provide enriching life experiences that encourage and challenge youth to excel in their development, support neighborhood stabilization and encourage homeownership. For more information, visit http://www.sierrahouse.org.

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Christina Forrest
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