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Queens Man Gathering Thousands Of Shoes To Get Storm Victims Back On Their Feet

Some So Moved By Michael LoCascio's Effort, They Call Him 'Santa Claus'
Michael LoCascio (credit: CBS 2)

Michael LoCascio (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man from Queens is trying to get brand new shoes — thousands of them — to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Michael LoCascio has a house full of shoes of all sizes.

Foot Locker donated more than 2,000 pairs of sneakers and boots when Locascio reached out to the company.

He has coached girls basketball for more than 20 years and his athletes come from all over, including the Rockaways and Breezy Point, which were decimated by Sandy.

“I’m lucky. I’m standing here in my house, I have lights, I have power, I have everything that I need. To imagine people and children having nothing, no lights, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, it just activated something in my body,” LoCascio told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu on Thursday.

So, LoCascio went into overdrive.

It started with gathering clothes for storm victims, which are now being stored at a local high school. Then he began reaching out to everyone he knows and he couldn’t believe it when the shoes arrived.

So now, everyday victims like Dennis Cook from Belle Harbor, whose family of five nearly lost their home in the storm, come to the LoCascio home to get shoes.

“When the kids open these bags, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised and it’s going to be like Christmas,” Cook said.

Cook left with bags of shoes — each one for another family in his neighborhood who has been wiped out.

LoCascio’s daughter, Samantha, said the stream of families coming in and out of the house has been non-stop.

“Honestly it has been wonderful, but it has been so sad,” said Samantha LoCascio. “One girl actually came up and told me that my dad was their Santa Claus this year, which broke my heart.”

But Michael LoCascio said he doesn’t plan to stop when the holidays end. The giving will continue for months to come.

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