United Cerebral Palsy Teens Bring 60 Individually Decorated Christmas Trees

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Another sign of normalcy has surfaced in one of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

On Friday, a delivery of Christmas trees arrived in Long Beach. And as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, they came from young people who have had their own share of challenges.

The Smith family had just moved back home, five weeks after watching three feet of sea water flood their first floor, and homes down the block burn to the ground.

“So we’ve been homeless, pretty much displaced, moving from house to house, family member to family member,” Karen Smith said.

Now their gutted Long Beach home has the warmth of a little Christmas tree.

The tree was part of a very special delivery. Disabled teenagers from United Cerebral Palsy came to Long Beach to offer 60  individually decorated Christmas trees to children who lost possessions and homes. There’s not a kid at Long Beach Catholic  Regional School who wasn’t hit in some way.

“We lost material things, stuff we can replace, so we are okay,” student Abigail Murray said.

The shoe  has been on the other foot for these Long Beach students. In the past they’ve visited the disabled teens to dance and volunteer.

“Yes, just to return the favor,” said Brian Zacarias of Freeport, “to give them joy to see the smile on their faces.”

The outpouring of help has come from all over the country.

“In light of such a tragedy so much good has come from it and I think the children here have seen how much people really do care,” Long Beach Catholic Assistant Principal Kerry Kahn said.

“Just to know that there are people out there supporting us and thinking about us, it makes this just a little bit easier,” Smith added.

Residents said they’ve been uplifted by all the gestures of kindness that have come in the form of little Christmas trees and big clean-ups. In fact, there have been so many offers, City Hall has set up registry to direct volunteers and donations.

The Christmas trees were originally made to be raffled off in a fundraiser, but the event was cancelled due to Sandy.

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