TSG Brings Christmas Joy to Newark’s Apostles’ House Shelter
By Alexandra Gakos
January 3, 2018
On December 25, 2017, residents at Newark’s Apostles’ House homeless shelter not only woke up to a beautiful, snowy, white Christmas, but also to an incredible surprise. Thanks to The Shauger Group (TSG), the Shauger family, and several New York Jets players, the families at the shelter received food and presents for Christmas, as well as a special Christmas morning visit from the donors.
New York Jets players Dakota Dozier, Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, and Terrence Brooks, as well as their families and the Shauger family, arrived at the Apostles’ House bright and early on Christmas morning to treat the families to an unforgettable day.
Dozier, Ijalana, Qvale, and Brooks, along with the entire Jets offensive line, teamed up to purchase holiday gifts and winter coats for the families at the Apostles’ House. After gathering clothing sizes for each of the 50 residents of the shelter, the Jets players and their families then shopped for presents—clothes and toys—for each of the children, as well as bought winter coats for the mothers at the shelter.
Meanwhile, the Shauger family—Lisa, Donald, Marisa, and Donnie—and TSG donated a full continental breakfast for the families. The breakfast, which came from East Hanover’s Classic Café Management, included a large variety of bagels, croissants, muffins, and other treats for the women and children to enjoy.
Additionally, as an added surprise for the Apostles’ House families, the Shauger family purchased 50 suite tickets to Disney on Ice at the Prudential Center. Since the families do not typically get much occasion to leave the shelter, the Disney on Ice outing will give the shelter’s residents the opportunity to spend a fun evening out.
“These women and children are in the midst of a challenging part of their lives, so we know that any act of kindness will go a long way,” said Donald Shauger, executive vice president of TSG. “It’s an honor for my family and our company to do what we can to give the families something to celebrate, especially around the holidays. Having grown up in a single-parent home, I know how tight things can get when families are struggling just to get by and stay afloat. Going out to a show or performance is a luxury they wouldn’t be able to enjoy under normal circumstances. We hope that rare treat goes a long way and brings them lots of joy this holiday season.”
“We are so grateful to Dakota, Terrence, Brent, and Ben, as well as their families, for wanting to partner with us to do something special for the families at the shelter,” said Lisa Shauger, president/CEO of TSG. “Donald and I have bought Christmas presents for the Apostles’ House families in the past as well, and it was a really beautiful gesture that so many of the Jets players—the team’s entire offensive line, no less!—wanted to get involved. They gave the families at the shelter a lot to smile about this holiday season.”
“I grew up as a son of a single mother, so it’s really special to me to be able to come back and help out,” said Dozier, addressing the families at the Apostles’ House on Christmas morning.
The Apostles’ House, a shelter for homeless and at-risk families, provides safe haven to women and children, especially during times of great trial. Individuals often seek shelter at the Apostles’ House when they’re experiencing homelessness or domestic abuse and trying to get back on their feet. For the past eleven years, the Shauger family has spent Christmas morning at the Apostles’ House. In the past, the Shaugers have partnered with other NFL players, including Steve Weatherford and Tanner Purdum, to give Apostles’ House residents gifts and brunch on Christmas.
Before Donald Shauger’s mother, Laura, passed away, she too spent time at the Apostles’ House with the families, sharing her experience as a single mother raising five children—and giving the mothers hope that, like Laura, they also would be able to persevere through even the most difficult times.
“My mother worked six or seven days a week, sometimes thirteen hours a day, to provide for our family,” said Donald Shauger. “With her unbelievable work ethic, she fought through adversity and helped lift herself from under State aid. No matter how tough times were for our family, my mother still did everything she could to help others, too. She had a heart of gold—when she finished her day at work at Supreme Bakery, my mother would often take leftover food to a Denville orphanage. She always instilled in us the importance of giving back.”
“The Apostles’ House eventually became a very special place to my mother because she identified with the struggles the women faced, and she wanted to give them hope for a brighter tomorrow,” added Donald. “The Apostles’ House will always be a special place to my family, and we are deeply committed to helping the Apostles’ House families. This Christmas, we were thrilled to team up with so many generous athletes and their families to give the Apostles’ House residents an unforgettable Christmas. We hope that, even just for a few hours, the residents were able to forget about their struggles and just enjoy the moment—it was beautiful to see them laughing, opening presents, and celebrating the joy of the season.”