PTA gift auction supports school programs, builds pride in Eatontown

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EATONTOWN – The Eatontown Public Schools PTA is mobilizing for the return of its popular gift auction on March 9.

The event, which was sidelined in recent years by the coronavirus pandemic, raises funds to support curriculum enrichment, and cultural and educational programs at all four schools, according to Amanda Zuroick, chair of the PTA’s Spring Luau Tricky Tray.

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The fundraiser will be held from 6-10 p.m. March 9 at the Eatontown Sheraton, 6 Industrial Way. Tickets will be on sale beginning this month, with the ticket price still to be determined, she said.

“The school district does a great job with the programs they have, but anything that is above and beyond comes from the PTA,” Zuroick said. “Special things like field trips, special parties and events, and programming and assemblies, all of that comes from the PTA funding and the time and effort parents put into it.

“I think it is important if we want to go above and beyond and provide a more enriching experience to students. The funds will be used for enrichment,” she explained, including assemblies at all four schools.

The Eatontown Public Schools is made up of the Woodmere, Meadowbrook and Margaret L. Vetter elementary schools and Memorial Middle School. The school district’s pre-kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment is approximately 993 students, according to the district website.

“The funds will also help at the annual field day,” Zuroick said, adding that the March 9 fundraiser is also about building community.

“With this event in particular, not only are we raising money, but our second objective is to bring the community together. Whether there are local businesses that are making donations, friends, family members, neighbors. And having an event that is really just focused on the town and being proud of the town we are in is so important to the committee that is putting this together,” she said.

“Yes, we are trying to raise money, but we are trying to create pride in living in Eatontown; all we have to offer our kids and what we are providing them. So that is another important part of the story,” Zuroick said.

Members of Eatontown’s school community, business community and the community at large are encouraged to support the upcoming fundraiser by donating prizes for the gift basket raffles.

Donations may include duplicate gifts an individual has received as well as donations of gift cards or a small monetary donation. All donations must be new, unopened and in the original packaging.

“Everyone is pretty much donating gift cards and birthday party services, but we are really looking for more,” Zuroick said.

“Mayor Anthony Talerico has donated being mayor for a day as one of the raffle prizes. We have almost 200 (prizes), but we need a lot more. We are doing outreach … if people want to donate things it can be anything: an air fryer, a pair of air pods, anything people might want to try to win.

“Everybody can do a little bit,” she said. “We have a couple of sponsors, the Eatontown Lions is a sponsor, I9 Sports, Seaview Mortgage, Shrewsbury Volkswagen, the Dublin House, the Vin Gopal Civic Association, all donated money to support this event.”

PTA President Melissa Mednick said the gift auction supports the PTA and helps engage the community with the schools.

“It is basically to support academic needs, any kind of decisions that could impact the children and the teachers,” she said. “It is a way to build a stronger bond with the schools. Also, we get the local community involved.”

Funds raised through the tricky tray will be used for extracurricular enrichment, she said, including assemblies for students and family fun nights.

“It is a way for families to come together,” Mednick said. “We have a book fair, sometimes someone comes in and reads a story to the younger classes, or it’s an ice cream social. We do walkathons, book fairs, dances. We give a certain amount for each class trip.”

A form for donations of raffle prizes for the Tricky Tray is posted at www.eatontown.org.

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