AJ Silvestri Collects 78,257 Letters for Macy’s BELIEVE Campaign
An eighth grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School surpassed his mission, collecting 78,257 letters for Make-A-Wish through Macy’s BELIEVE campaign.
AJ Silvestri, with the help of his supporters, dropped off boxes filled to the brim with letters at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, National Believe Day, at the Macy’s in the Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick.
Last year Silvestri collected more than 27,000 holiday letters, to help the organization that made his dream come true. The youngster, who has Cystic Fibrosis, was granted a wish five years ago by Make-A-Wish New Jersey, who grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.
Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic, progressive and life limiting genetic disease that affects specifically his lungs and gastrointestinal system, according to his mother Kerryann S. Silvestri.
This year, AJ’s 78,257 letters will play a significant role in helping Macy’s and Make-A-Wish reach their $1 million National Believe Day goal.
2017 marks the 10th annual BELIEVE campaign between Macy’s and Make-A-Wish. From the beginning of November through Dec. 24, “Believers” of all ages can mail letters to Santa at the big red letterbox at any local Macy’s store or online at macys.com/believe. For every letter received in store or online, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses.
Letters delivered on Friday, Dec. 8, National Believe Day, to any Macy’s nationwide – the day AJ made his astounding delivery - counted for a $2 contribution per letter, up to an additional $1 million, bringing the total campaign to a possible $2 million.
Old Bridge Schools Superintendent David Cittadino called Silvestri “a hometown hero.” He challenged the youngster to collect 125,000 letters next year so that his work would make “a classroom of kids’ wishes come true.” Silvestri immediately agreed to answer the challenge.
Silvestri collected the bags and bags of letters this year with the help of the nearly 10,000 students, staff, and faculty members in the Old Bridge School District, who wrote notes, making holiday wishes.
The youngster was committed to beating his record last year and to giving back to the organization, who gave him and his family the opportunity to take a Make-A-Wish trip one week after Superstorm Sandy. On the trip, they met the cast of the History Channel show "Pawn Stars" and watched them film a segment with AJ's favorite personality, Chum Lee. They also met the cast from the show "American Restoration”.