Chanukah Gifts & Kids: Toy store brings early holiday to Sandy victims

Chanukah came early for children affected by superstorm Sandy when a toy store in Borough Park, N.Y. handed out more than $10,000 worth of gifts.

Yonasan Schwartz, the owner of Toys to Discover in Brooklyn, gave out more than 600 packages filled with toys on Nov. 17 and 18 to children living in the area and on Long Island.

“After reading about all the ruins and how much people are suffering after the hurricane, I decided I had to do a little sharing,” Schwartz said. “Everyone has been contributing a lot to the hurricane relief, we’ve seen a lot of kindness in the Jewish community, and this was the best way I thought I could contribute, since I can give out what I actually own.”

Schwartz, 43, handed out parcels with $150 worth of toys to anyone who came into the store and said their homes were hit by the hurricane.

Schwartz said he was prepared to hand out 500 packages, but made another 100 after receiving an overwhelming  response from families in the heavily damaged Seagate and Far Rockaway communities. The shop posted its donation announcement to its Twitter and Facebook pages, and placed a newspaper ad.

“People have been so thankful for this contribution,” Schwartz said. “I’ve been in the toy business a long time, and I know how attached kids get to their favorite toys. It’s sad to see how much children have lost when their families have lost their entire homes; they don’t have anything to play with. — jta