Holiday Toy Drive For Children Affected By Hurricane Sandy

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AQUASHICOLA -- Volunteer firefighters in Carbon County are doing what they can to help victims of Hurricane Sandy have a holiday season a little closer to normal.

The Aquashicola Fire Company is collecting toys for families living in New Jersey.

It may be the start of their toy drive here at the Aquashicola Fire Company but already there’s a healthy collections of items.

Volunteers say toys collected will soon be bound for Union Township, New Jersey, a community near Newark that was hit by Hurricane Sandy.

“The fire company was brainstorming and they were looking for something different. We went on the internet, found this, contacted Sergeant Ball with the Union Township police department and we’ve been working with them ever since,” said Susan Arner.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall last month, along the New Jersey and New York coasts, pummeling the homes and businesses there and leaving people without power for days.

Donations of bare essentials were sent to help but with the holidays just around the corner, volunteers at Aquashicola thought this toy drive was perfect.

“Children that had to go through this, it’s got to be tough on them. I couldn’t imagine losing everyone and basically to them, toys are everything,” said Chris Jahelka.

“They’re focused on their basic needs, the food and clothing and all that sort of thing and they’re upset, the kids lost are even upset because they lost their favorite truck, their favorite doll,” said Arner.

Toys can be dropped off at the fire house or at any of the 11 branches of First Northern Bank and Trust, located in Lehigh, Monroe, and Carbon Counties.

Donations of diapers, cleaning supplies and other essentials are also welcome.

“We want to live that pay it forward thing. If it happened to us, we would hope that the people in New Jersey would be doing the same thing for us,” said Arner.

Toys will be collected by the Aquashicola Fire Company until December 10. The fire company is hoping to drive the toys to New Jersey by December 16.