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Pop-Up Toy Store Helps Sandy Victims Get Presents For Their Kids

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Help is here for the victims of superstorm Sandy who are worried about being able to afford presents for their children.

A pop-up toy store is now in place at 3948 Amboy Road on Staten Island and will be open from noon to 7 p.m. seven days a week through December 24.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell On The Story


The space has been lent to the organization Where To Turn by Amalgamated Transit Union 726.

If your child wants it, they probably have it.

Dennis  McKeon runs the non-profit  'Where To Turn' which is behind the holiday toy store. He said the idea evolved after getting piles of individual donations in the form of new toys.

"We have anything from skateboards to air hockey games," said McKeon. "People can actually come in, you know, and actually pick out some presents for their kids, you know, with dignity."

Staten Island Sandy Pop-Up Toy Store
Pop-Up Toy Store for Sandy's Victims on Staten Island (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Joan Chelsen is a volunteer who has been at the store daily to make sure every kid who celebrates Chanukah got presents, CBS 2's Emily Smith reported.  It is the same for those looking forward to Christmas this year.

All the donated gifts are free and just for Sandy's victims.

"Oh my gosh. It makes what happened to us so much easier," said Laura Jean Sammarco, who is still out of her home. "You look at all the good things that people do and it really helps with the struggle."

She said this helps make it feel like Christmas.

You do have to register with your FEMA number to prove Sandy affected you, Smith reported. Each family's limited to a maximum of six toys.

So far they've gotten more than 6,000 brand new toys coming from Conn., Massachusetts -- all over.

The store can still use volunteers, especially this weekend, Smith reported.

You can learn more about Where To Turn at their website. If you want to help with the toy store, please contact McKeon at 718-966-6531.

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