Adopt a Family for the Holidays Through the St. Nicholas Project

The St. Nicholas Project is seeking help providing holiday presents to Princeton area families in need. Now in its 13th year, the program is sponsored by the YWCA of Princeton and is supported by local organizations, businesses, families and individuals.

In 2000, Princeton Borough resident Jill Jachera founded the program to help local families. Many of the families are new immigrant families like her husband’s family, which came the United States from Cuba with one suitcase, no money and no English skills.

“Even though he was only four, he still remembers the acts of kindness that made his family feel welcome when they started in this country,” Jachera said. “We want to pay it forward and do the same for immigrant families and those in similar situations throughout Princeton.”

The Project, originally called “YWCA Adopt-a-Family”, was renamed after its first year in memory of Jachera’s nephew Nichols Nutile, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2001. Jachera continues to lead the drive each year, encouraging businesses and individuals to join in the effort to enrich the lives of local families,

“It is a way to support those right in our own neighborhood and a way to celebrate the spirit of giving and community,” says Jachera.

The program accepts donations of toys, food, clothes, and tuition payments to the YWCA’s Nursery School.

“In today’s economic environment, finding the extra cash for tuition has been a particular challenge for many families,” Jachera said. “Parents want their children to be in school, but sometimes it is a choice between school or the day-to-day living.”

If you purchase a toy for the St. Nicholas Project at JaZam’s in Palmer Square, you will receive a 20 percent discount on the toy and Jazam’s will bring the toy directly to the YWCA Princeton.

You can also participate in the St. Nicholas Project by contributing to the toy drive on Friday, Dec. 7. Members of the public can bring a toy to Palmer Square’s Holiday A Capella Jam & Toy Drive between 6 and 8 p.m..  Several groups will perform at the event on the square and hot chocolate and apple cider will be available.

To adopt a family or make a contribution to the project, contact Jill Jachera at by Nov. 26th. Participants will be provided with a wish list for a family or individual in need. Gifts should be new and unwrapped. All items must be dropped off on Monday, Dec. 17th, between 8 a.m. and noon at the YWCA Princeton. For those who wish to contribute and cannot shop, a tax-deductible donation can be made to the YWCA Princeton.