NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One Tri-State community torn by tragedy is lending a comforting hand to another.
Breezy Point residents rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy are trying to help the children who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Maura Buckley lost everything to Sandy’s flood waters, but after witnessing the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., she suddenly feels fortunate.
“We can’t even compare our loss, which is material things, homes, cars — things like that — to the loss of a child. It’s hard to even think about,” said Buckley.
But when she did think about it, the single mother from Breezy Point wanted to do something to help.
“We had so much love and support here and I just knew how much that meant, how much that helped me push through,” Buckley said. “I wanted to pay it forward.”
That’s when she remembered the donated toys, specifically stuffed animals, that volunteers distributed throughout the area after Sandy.
One stuffed dog brought her 5-year old son a lot of comfort and she wanted to do the same for the children who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting.
So Buckley and her friend Matt Piccione teamed up to create “Operation Kids Comfort” and set up collection points at local businesses.
Operation Kids Comfort has collected more than one thousand stuffed animals in just four days and another 2,000 are on the way.
“A couple of guys from Sandy Hook were helping our firehouse out a few days after the storm and that’s why this is personal to me because they’re such a small community like us,” Piccione said.
Flood waters destroyed Jim Morton’s motorcycle, so he’s donating his motorcycle trailer to transport the fluffy toys.
“Well you just hope maybe for a couple minutes, they just forget about what they’re going through,” said Morton, of Roxbury.
“Maybe a little kid will look at this and smile. Maybe that’ll happen,” Liz Fitzgerald said.
The kids comfort crew hopes to deliver the toys to Connecticut in time for Christmas.
Organizers have already collected more stuffed animals than they expected. The extras will be donated to children’s charities and hospitals.
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