Bigger Than Boxing: BOXX FOR TOTTS
Jon Simon recalls how his Boxx For Totts idea (which is now an officially registered nonprofit) all began. "It really started out on a whim" Jon tells me. "About 16 years ago, I was a trainer at Island Gym in Ventnor, and one night before one of my boxing classes in December, I noticed a completely empty box where toys were suppose to go for families in the area that are in need." Jon didn't like that, he decided that he would waive his $10 fee for his class if class attendees would bring in an unwrapped new toy to help fill that empty toy box up instead.
Fast Forward to 2019, and you can barely walk through the large lobby inside the Jewish Community Center in Margate. Why? Toys, from floor to ceiling, end to end. "We actually already had to take a truck full of toys out of here already, we were running out of room in here(laughs)." From about 12 toys to fill a small cardboard box 16 years ago, to over $12,000 dollars in toys and monetary donations in 2019, Jon is now the founder of one of (if not the biggest) the biggest nonprofit organizations/ charity events in the entire South Jersey area. Thousands of toys will be delivered and distributed to charities such as Jewish Family Service, The Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) of Atlantic County, Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church of Atlantic City, just to name a few that Jon has worked with in the past, and even directly to any families in need throughout the area.
This week is when the boxing classes will be held (Tuesday December 17th, 6:30PM HANDS WRAPPED!!, Thursday December 19th, 6:30PM HANDS WRAPPED!!, Friday December 20th, 10:30AM HANDS WRAPPED!!!) and it has become not only the biggest of its kind, but the marquee event of the season, the place to be! College kids from the area ( I used to be one of them) always have Jon's 'BOXX FOR TOTTS' classes circled on their calendars as one of the events they all look forward to participating in while being home for the holidays. There will be a different DJ each class, bringing high energy music, Jon will be bringing in local singers in the area to perform the National Anthem prior to each class beginning, and of course, the main event, is Jon himself. Last year Jon proposed to his now wife, during one of the full house BOXX FOR TOTTS classes. How will he one up that this year you ask? "You'll have to come to one of the classes to find out" Jon tells me.
For those of you that have never been to one of Jon's classes, seeing Jon in action is worth the price of admission in itself (a toy for a child in need). Jon's' energy, passion, and knowledge of the sport of boxing make for a fun and entertaining experience. Just do not be late, and do not slack off! If Jon finds you slacking off, he may stop the entire class. "PUSH UP POSITIONNNNN!!!" ...
The class is high energy, fun, and built for any age, size, gender, athletic ability. Its a "station" formatted class, which allows everyone to go at their own pace, and Jon and his dedicated,loyal crew are there to help any newcomer who has never put on a pair of boxing gloves before, and they make you feel like you have been doing it for years.
If you can not physically attend one of the classes this week, that is ok, you can still contribute and help make a local families holiday this season. New, unwrapped toy donations can be dropped off and brought to the Milton & Betty Katz JCC lobby, 501 N. Jerome Avenue in Margate. If you are not able to get to the JCC, feel free to reach out to Jon on Facebook @ Jon Simon, or even reach out to me directly ( Ryan Rothstein ) and I will get the donation over to Jon and the JCC.
TUESDAY: DECEMBER 17TH 6:30PM HANDS WRAPPED, CLASS BEGINS 7PM
THURSDAY: DECEMBER 19TH 6:30PM HANDS WRAPPED, CLASS BEGINS 7PM
FRIDAY DECEMBER 20TH 10:30AM HANDS WRAPPED, CLASS BEGINS 11AM.