TOMS RIVER – The runners got hot, keeping warm on a hot winter day, while raising money for the Toms River Police Department Foundation.
The Jingle Bells 5K race took place downtown and drew hundreds of runners, and even more waits on the sidelines.
Officially there were 709 registered, police spokeswoman Jillian Messina said Toms River Hours. However, on race day, people came who did not register online but still wanted to participate, donate and support the department.
Mayor Maurice âMoâ Hill said there was also a fun run for the kids to Santa Claus and a fun 1 mile run.
âSome of the Toms River volunteer firefighters ran the fun fully outfitted 1 mile run weighing between 40 and 60 pounds with the Scott air packs,â he said. âThere was a great turnout after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic. Another sign of our return to normalcy.
The fundraiser was very successful and will be used for scholarships for local clubs TEAM and Interact, Messina said. There is also a Detective Mark Catalano Memorial Scholarship for high school students majoring in a career in law enforcement. Additionally, the funds went to A Need We Feed, a Toms River-based nonprofit that helps people put food on the table.
âWe are really lucky to continue to have the support of the community! We really felt the love of our Toms River family and the holiday spirit, âshe said. âWe say this all the time, but it still holds true, our Toms River community is just amazing! The relationship between a community and the police service is based on mutual respect and support. This community appears, not only for the police department, but for all community events. We may be close to 100,000 men, but we still have this small town heart! “
âThis race became our unofficial kickoff to the holiday season and we were happy to be back this year,â said Chef Mitch Little. âHaving the support of our community and seeing everyone enjoying the day was awesome! It’s pretty amazing how our TRPD family embraces our events and puts their heart into it. I am so proud to work alongside these amazing men and women whose dedication goes well beyond their duty, âsaid Officer PJ Gambardella, who served as Race Director. âWe would like to thank everyone who cameâ¦ We had a great day, with perfect race time too! It was very gratifying to see everything our race committee had been working on come to life and luckily go off without a hitch! To all of our sponsors, participants and volunteers – Thank you for everything! We couldn’t do this without you!