Family Service League Out To Collect 20,000 Toys, But Needs Your Help

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The holiday season is supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, but for Jonelle Redmond, of Long Island, the wrath of Superstorm Sandy has dampened any holiday hopes.

“I’m feeling kind of stressed out because I’m like, wow, I can’t get a Christmas tree,” she told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider on Tuesday. “You know, that’s the first thing you want to do, like, the day after Thanksgiving, is put up a Christmas tree.”

Money has been running low because of the extra cash Redmond shelled out to keep her kids warm and fed for the 10 days they went without power after the storm.

“It was like, all my Christmas money that I had saved up for the kids,” Redmond said. “That’s what I had to use to help us, because I didn’t have the extra.”

Robyn Berger-Gaston of the Family Service League said Redmond’s worries are shared by thousands around Long Island.

“It’s definitely different this year,” Berger-Gaston said. “There’s a different sense of desperation.”

For that reason, the Family Service League has been collecting hundreds of toys to give to parents who just cannot afford them this year.

“Right now, there’s doubt that there will be a Christmas,” program director Penny-Ann Antonio said.

In any given year, the Family Service League looks to collect about 10,000 toys. But this year, it is looking for double that amount.

But the League said it has been extremely difficult, because many of the families who usually give were themselves hit hard by Sandy.

“They’re calling us. They say, ‘Look, we’ve given you toys in the past. This year we lost everything. Are you able to help us?’” Berger-Gaston said.

And for Redmond, it all worked out.

“I’m, like, really overwhelmed because I want to provide a Christmas for my kids, because how do you tell kids, no, right?” she said.

But thanks to the Family Service League, Redmond doesn’t have to say no this holiday.

If you would like to contribute toys, you can visit the following drop-off sites on Long Island:

*Tri-CYA Community Center in Big H Shopping Center

809 New York Ave., Huntington, N.Y.

Phone: (631) 673-0614

* Brookhaven Family Center

1490 William Floyd Parkway, East Yaphank, N.Y. 11967

Phone: (631) 924-3741

H0urs: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

* Iovino South Shore Family Center

1444 Fifth Ave., Bay Shore, N.Y. 11706

Phone: (631) 647-3100

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday,  9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Riverhead Family Center

208 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead, N.Y. 11901

Phone: (631) 369-0104

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Have you donated anything for Sandy victims? Let us know about it below…

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