Jets' linebacker David Harris donates sneakers to Camp Hope campers


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  • Photo by Joseph A.Sorrentino New York Jets' linebacker David Harris has donated $20,000 worth of sneakers to Camp Hope campers this summer.



— Every summer for the past three years, linebacker David Harris of the New York Jets has seen to it that children who attend Camp Hope in West Milford can enjoy summer camp in a pair of new sneakers. Working with the charitable organization "Give the Kids Hope Foundation, Inc.," Harris and his wife, Jiali, donated a supply of Reebok athletic shoes worth $20,000 for needy boys and girls. The gifts were distributed at the David Harris Sneaker Shack at Camp Hope, which was built through the support of Give the Kids Hope, a non-profit that raises funds to benefit recreational and educational programs at the summer camp.

The organization was founded in 2010 by Stephen Tilton, Jr., CFO and Judith Schumacher-Tilton, president of Tilton Automotive Group, which owns Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville and Schumacher Chevrolet in Little Falls. The Tilton family is active in various community outreach endeavors and charitable organizations. Give the Kids Hope Foundation is run entirely by volunteers so that all proceeds are able to go directly to children in need. Harris has been an active supporter of Give the Kids Hope Foundation since its inception in 2010.

“David has been a real inspiration for the children at Camp Hope and a tremendous advocate of Give the Kids Hope. We can’t thank him and Jiali enough for their continued generosity and support of our foundation,” said Tilton.

In addition to working with Harris on the sneaker donations, Give the Kids Hope donates money every year to improve the camp’s infrastructure and support its programs. This year, the foundation paid for all of the arts and crafts supplies for the entire summer; plans for 2014 include the installation of a regulation-size basketball court. The foundation also sponsors a golf invitational headlined by Harris every May, which is its major annual fundraiser. Harris has said he relates to the struggles of low-income families based on his own background, and applauds the work of Camp Hope of New Jersey.

"I’m thrilled to make a donation once again to the David Harris Sneaker Shack at Camp Hope,” said Harris. “Growing up under difficult circumstances, I understand how even a small thing like a brand new pair of sneakers can mean a lot to a child. Jiali and I are very proud to be a small part of a large group of people that dedicate their time and resources to benefit the children of Camp Hope."

To date, Harris has donated 1056 pairs of shoes to campers.

According to Camp Hope’s Executive Director Karen Cisco, 2,279 children from throughout Passaic County attended the camp this year, through various social service agencies. In addition to providing a free summer camp experience for underprivileged youth, Camp Hope employs group counselors through these agencies as well.

“We’re able to offer a great camp experience for kids and employment for older teens and young adults from these same communities. In fact, some of these counselors are former campers themselves,” noted Cisco.

Passaic County Camp Hope is located at 1792 Union Valley Road in West Milford. To support Camp Hope through Give the Kids Hope Foundation or to become an organization volunteer, call 973-256-1065 or visit www.GiveTheKidsHope.org.

For information about Camp Hope, go to www.CampHopeNJ.com or contact Cisco at 973-881-4757

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