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Secret Santa for Sandy victims: Kids who lost toys in storm get holiday surprise

Posted at 12:05 PM, Dec 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-09 14:58:29-05

Hurricane Sandy didn’t just wash away furniture, cars and appliances.  It took from its youngest victims things that may seem small, but mean the world to children—their toys.

After seeing her friend’s son upset by toys that were destroyed and had to be thrown out, Joy Huang knew she had to do something to help.  She brainstormed with her friend Kimberley Berdy, and together they came up with an internet version of the Secret Santa phenomenon, launching a website called SecretSandy.org.

“Whether it’s a lego, a scooter, it’s something that was theirs that was tangible, so we’re trying to help them get back some of those things they lost,” Huang said.
Donors can sign up to be matched up with families whose kids have posted wish lists.

Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 12.10.11 PM

Donors can sign up to be matched up with families whose kids have posted wish lists.

“We send a letter from the child to a donor with a link.  All the donor has to do is read the letter, click on the link, and purchase the items they want.  Amazon ships it directly to the family,“ explained Huang.

The website took off after a tweet of support from Chelsea Clinton.  So far, more than 1,000 children in need have reached out, and more than 2,000 donors have signed on.   All letters requesting gifts need to be submitted by Dec. 15.

It’s hard work.  It’s exhausting, and it doesn’t matter,” said Berdy.  “At 3 A.M. you remember why you did this.”