NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan spread a little Christmas cheer Saturday, joining hundreds of volunteers to shop for less fortunate families.
With a list in hand, the Archbishop of New York set off to play Santa for the day.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 1/17 Monday Morning Forecast
He walked the aisles of Kmart in Astor Place, hand-picking warm clothes for a mother and three children who had to evacuate from Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria.
“Our poor people are not alone. We love them, we embrace them,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Anything that’s going to enhance, protect, help, foster the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life — we want to be in big time.”
“We’re shopping for families from Puerto Rico who are staying in New York, because they had nothing when they left,” added Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities.
About 600 volunteers joined forces, giving up their Saturday to shop for 750 families in need – some refugees, some immigrants, all of them in the New York area.READ MORE: New Yorkers Urged To Stay Off Roads As Wintry Mix Moves Through Region
Each volunteer was assigned to a specific family. They were given a budget and description of ages, plus the unfortunate circumstances some may be facing.
The 12th annual shopping extravaganza was put on by Catholic Charities, with people from many different local organizations.
“Going to school you always see a bunch of homeless people, and they’re always sleeping on the train. I always want to do more, and so this is probably a very good way to start,” said volunteer Kristen Saint-Fort.
“It really gives you that emotional connection. It’s not just getting toys for kids, it’s getting them warm clothing so you know they’ll have help through the winter and have a great Christmas present,” another woman said.MORE NEWS: Exclusive: Witness Describes 'Surreal' Deadly Subway Push In Times Square
All of the gifts will be loaded onto trucks and delivered to sites across the state, where families will be able to pick them up just in time for Christmas.