HUDSON COUNTY – Area children and families in need or who were affected by Hurricane Sandy received a special holiday gift on Friday, as a number were present to select from among a variety of toys, games, and books at the Secaucus Recreation Center.
Major Bookseller Barnes & Noble worked in conjunction with Secaucus to distribute over 10,000 toys, games, and books to area towns that were affected by Hurricane Sandy including Secaucus, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City, as well as Bergen County towns like Carlstadt, Moonachie, and Little Ferry.
Local officials, school administrators, and board of education members were present for a special ceremony at the Recreation Center where Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli presented Barnes & Noble CEO Mitchell Klipper with a plaque in recognition of the company’s contribution to the local community. Assemblyman Vincent Prieto and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez were also in attendance.
Secaucus resident Lisa Wandell, who has four children, said that her family had a difficult year and the toys were “a blessing.” Her husband and daughter are both in the hospital and the family has faced challenges living on one income. She added that when she got her most recent paycheck she was faced with the decision of whether to pay her car insurance or buy her children presents for Christmas.
“This is a godsend,” said Wandell.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Board of Education President Richard Barsa, and Township Manager Jim Marchetti were present to receive the contribution, which will go to local flood victims as well as to future emergencies. Turner said that nearly 350 families were affected by Hurricane Sandy in Weehawken.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said the donations were going to organizations that serve youth in need throughout the city as well as ones that were affected by the storm such as Daycare 100, which was flooded out during the storm, the Jubilee Center, and the Boys and Girls Club.
Union City Superintendent of Schools Stanley Sanger said that the donations would go toward the families who were displaced due to the recent fire. He said that locally the school district had collected $9,000 and that while the cash donation was helpful to provide the families support as they get back on their feet, the toys are “very special…for the kids.”
Danny Conroy and Ryan Goor of the Secaucus-based company Commercial Furniture Transport also gave 10,000 pieces of Mattell and Hasbro toys through Angel Wish.