When considering immediate relief for those devastated by Sandy, things like food, shelter and clean drinking water come to mind, and rightly so. However, there are other things that may be important too. For kids, the act of playing can be a way to work out any traumas caused by Sandy. Also, it’s a way for them to feel like regular kids amid the stress. One Borough Park toy store owner felt the same way, so he donated over $10,000 worth of toys to kids impacted by Sandy.
Yonasan Schwartz, owner of Toys to Discover (5504 18th Avenue) prepared about 600 packages filled with toys and gave them to kids whose homes were hit hardest by the storm.
“After reading about all the ruins and how much people are suffering after the hurricane, I decided I had to do a little sharing,” Schwartz told JTA. “Everyone has been contributing a lot to the hurricane relief, we’ve seen a lot of kindness in the Jewish community, and this was the best way I thought I could contribute, since I can give out what I actually own.”
He made an announcement on Twitter and Facebook, as well as taking an ad out, stating his intentions to help. Then, Schwartz gave the packages to anyone who came into the store and asked.
He said that lots of volunteers came in and took the toys down to Seagate and the Far Rockaway communities.
“People have been so thankful for this contribution,” he said. “One person came to pick up a few parcels for an area in Far Rockaway where 52 families lost their homes.”
People in need came into his store well after all of the packages had been given away so Schwartz now offers deep discounts to those trying to rebuild their lives.
“I’ve been in the toy business a long time, and I know how attached kids get to their favorite toys,” he said. “It’s sad to see how much children have lost when their families have lost their entire homes; they don’t have anything to play with. I hope they can become attached to these new toys fast.”