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Essex County Police

Cheer Me Up Foundation Spreads Holiday Joy to Children

The Cheer Me Up Foundation is a non-profit organization that financially aids sick and underprivileged children in the community. The organization seeks to help all children  experience the joy of being a child, no matter what their hardships are. The foundation's mission is to inspire and give back to the community. 


Each year, the organization holds an event at Nanina's In the Park, in Belleville, NJ, to help underprivileged children and those with special needs or illnesses experience the joy of the holiday season.  This year's event took place on Monday, December 18, 2017.


Mr. Joe Maurillo, the President of the foundation, began this organization in 1994. The idea for The Cheer Me Up Foundation came to him when his daughter was once hospitalized around Christmas time. “It started out about 22 years ago when my daughter, Gianna, was in the hospital during the holidays. We bought presents for all the children in her ward as well as costume characters,” said Maurillo. “It was such a big hit that we continued it the following year and then it evolved into a party that we host every December, on the Monday before Christmas for all special needs and underprivileged children in the community.”


With the help of his colleagues, business partners and friends, Maurillo was determined to make the holiday season special for all. “We have been told over the years that many guests look forward to the event because the attendees don’t feel like they are outcasts and do not have people gawking at them or asking what the condition the child has. It's an event that they feel they can be themselves and enjoy the holiday season,” said Maurillo.


The NHS Key Club, spearheaded by Ms. Mazza and Ms. D'Urso, participated this event this year in an effort to engage in unique and charitable causes.