Local Santa Brightens Up The Holidays For Sandy Victims

Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause toy collection. Image courtesy of Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

When it comes to making sure that the youngest victim’s of Hurricane Sandy have a great Christmas, there is no shortage of bighearted locals.

Gravesend resident Michael Sciaraffo has been a one man Sandy relief machine. He started by collecting essential supplies for relief efforts with Facebook appeals and eventually moved on bringing holiday gifts to kids whose families are struggling.

“This was my home, and I felt compelled to do something about it,” Sciaraffo said to NY 1.”I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. So I said ‘You know what? I am going to mobilize.”

Michael Sciaraffo’s Secret Sandy Clause event. Image courtesy of Sciaraffo’s Facebook page

He collected over 200 toys from a Secret Sandy Claus event he hosted. Then, instead of just dropping the toys off at centers, he decided to don a Santa suit and deliver them himself to bring that extra bit of cheer to kids.

His first stop was the McGowan family on Bevy Court in Gerritsen Beach. The family has been living out of a trailer on their lawn because their home was completely destroyed by Sandy.

“A lot of times, they ask, they want to go home and they want their toys,” said Mom Elizabeth McGowan. “I’m telling them that Santa Claus is coming and they are going to get toys. And he showed up and that will mean the world to them.”

Sciaraffo is nowhere near done. His list includes hundreds of kids from all over the five boroughs. He said that personally recalls the importance toys play in a child’s life and wants to make sure that these kids have a joy-filled Christmas in spite of their difficulties.

To donate toys, call 646-623-7542 or email secretsandyclausproject@gmail.com.

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