by Caleigh Farragher
During the stressful months surrounding the holidays, it is easy to lose the meaning of giving and being thankful. In 1993, Tim McLoone decided to use his local celebrity status to help those in need. Every December, he and his musical friends perform 50 shows in 30 days. These shows are for those less fortunate, and bring joy and happiness. Along with music, they gift these needy people with care packages. These gift bags are assembled by volunteers in the Holiday Express warehouse.
The Holiday Express warehouse is a place filled with quintessential holiday spirit. The volunteers there devote their time to spreading their wealth and fortune to those less fortunate; everywhere there you can find volunteer sorting scarves, packing candy, or getting the trucks ready for shipping. The warehouse is filled with holiday music, the Holiday Express CD, obviously. Along with this cheerful music are the cheerful volunteers working as hard as they can before the shows.
Many gift bags are prepared the day before the shows are performed. These gift bags include items for the specific needs of those receiving them. One example were gift bags for the Hawkswood School. The students at this school are severely disabled, to the point where many cannot even open their fingers. To accommodate this need, the Holiday Express volunteers pack the gift bags with warm mittens. Also, these bags included toys, like beanie babies, coloring books, and crayons, as well as toiletries, scarves, hats, shirts, and socks. The students from the Hawkswood School light up each year when the Holiday Express band performs, and they cherish the gifts they receive.
Each show the band performs creates a different atmosphere. The show in particular that each band member loves the most, though, is at the Soup Kitchen in Trenton. This show is an eye-opening experience; everyone sings and dances to the holiday music.
“This is the reason we do this,” says members of the band. When they perform at one of the several assisted living homes they visit, they also emphasize the joy to see the old couples dance and feel the spirit of the holiday season.