MANALAPAN — The Manalapan High School varsity football players decided that they needed to spread some cheer this holiday season.
The students ran a toy drive and delivered three carloads of toys to The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick last month during the holidays.
According to the team’s head coach, Ed Gurrieri, Ron White, the father of one of the players, Ronny White, thought the team should get involved.
“The boys had just played in the state championship,” Gurrieri said. “Ron’s son was sick and was in that hospital, so he told us this would be such a rewarding opportunity.”
Ronny White, a sophomore running back and linebacker, was taken to the hospital with a case of pneumonia. Before being released, he was presented a toy gift by a nurse, a move that sparked this toy drive.
The toy drive was put in the varsity team’s lap, and they ran with it. In the past, Manalapan had participated in the Monmouth County Food Drive but wanted to do more to help out this holiday season.
Gurrieri is extremely proud of his team for their dedication to this cause.
“The team truly took the ball and ran with it,” he said. “They all got in touch with other teammates and tried to get what was on the list the hospital provided for the children. They made it happen.”
Manalapan finished a very successful 2016 season with an 11-1 record and a berth in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group V state sectional playoff championship game. The Braves were defeated by Piscataway Township High School, 34-13, in the state playoff finals Dec. 3 at Rutgers University.