NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Though its traditional summer camp may be canceled this year, the Salvation Army of Greater New York is sending what it hopes to be a fun experience right to its campers at home.
It's called Camp In A Box.
"We know it's not real camp, but at least it's a taste of camp," said Captain Antonio Rosamilia, Youth Secretary Salvation Army of Greater NY in an interview with CBS2's Nina Kapur. "We're throwing all sorts of things in there, silly things, arts and crafts things, camp t-shirt, sunglasses, a little book bag, some kind of fun activities to bring joy to people's lives."
Rosamilia said canceling camp was not an easy decision to make, but due to COVID-19 concerns, staff members believed it was the right one.
For the next few Mondays, volunteers from the nonprofit New York Cares will gather at the organization's East Harlem location to pack and distribute more than 1,000 Camp In A Box kits to children across the five boroughs, Hudson Valley and Long Island.
The boxes provide each camper from 7 to 12 years old with a fun, educational reminder of their time at Star Lake Camp in New Jersey.
"When Antonio mentioned that for the first time in its 98-year history that Star Lake Camp canceled, due to COVID-19, I thought it was a tragic loss for the children," said Patrick Diaz, a New York Cares volunteer. "I was really inspired by the alternatives they came up with."
Hailing all the way from California, Diaz was more than willing to lend a helping hand to the cause. He, like dozens of others from New York Cares, packed each box with crafts, snacks and fun activities that should last each camper about a week.
This mission is an important one to the Salvation Army of Greater New York, especially because it provides these services for many children in need. So on the top of the boxes, every child will get a virtual camp counselor to chat with over the phone or online.
For ways to get involved or to sign your child up for Camp In A Box, visit Star Lake Camp's website.
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