Sylvias Children, a New Jersey-based non-profit, committed to improving the lives for more than 1,000 children in Mbiriizi, Uganda, will be helping to bring in the Christmas cheer…in July!

Every year around November, volunteers from around the country embark on a trip to the Ugandan village to help bring Christmas joy to the children at the Mbiriizi Advanced Primary School. One fourth of the children currently attending the school are orphans.

This year, the organization is starting the holiday season early with a drive to raise enough money to give every child at the school a Northeastern Fleece blanket. It can drop as low as 50 degrees at night, and with no insulation or heat can make the nights really chilly for the children.

With wonderful fleece blankets for only $10 a child, the kids can be kept warm all night.

Entering year 13, the organization started by internationally recognized businesswoman and philanthropist Sylvia Allen, has hosted the Christmas trip, which always includes a big celebration with cake, beans and rice with meat, and soda, and gift giving of toys, candy, a brand new shirt or dress for each boy and girl, and song and dance.

This trip, which runs from November 12 through 20, will mark two years since the organization opened its 6,000-square-foot, fully equipped medical clinic at the school. The medical clinic has increased access to health care for the children and the village.

Sylvias Childrens mission since its inception has been to create a self-sustainable economic system at the school. It also brings over doctors, nurses, and dentists each year.

Since launching the organization in 2003, Allen has succeeded in raising over a million dollars, all of which has gone directly to the school since she covers all administrative expenses herself. In addition to the medical clinic, the organization has constructed a fresh well, a chicken coop, a kitchen, a corn milling building, a sewing building, new classroom blocks, housing for teachers and orphans, a fully-stocked library, a playground, a chicken farm and more.

The all-inclusive cost to join the trip is $2,500, which includes airfare, lodging, meals and ground transportation.

Those interested in joining the trip can contact Sylvia Allen directly at or call 732-946-2711. To find out more information on the organization, or to donate to a fleece blanket, to the Christmas fund or to sponsor a child, visit