'Sandy Claus' still spreads holiday joy 5 years after Sandy

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- Five years after Superstorm Sandy tore through city neighborhoods, "Sandy Claus" is preparing again to see that children receive gifts for Christmas.

"Now that we're five years past Sandy, we have changed our mission to more than just hurricane victims," said Michael Sciaraffo, alias "Sandy Claus." Now we help all kids in need. So that is how we have expanded out to the five boroughs."

The Christmas right after Sandy, Sciaraffo, dressed in a Santa costume, went door-to-door spreading holiday joy to so many who lost so much.

He told Eyewitness News at the time, "If we replace every toy that every kid lost in Sandy I will be happy."

Patrick and Morgan McGowan were the first to receive gifts from "Sandy Claus."

"It was like gold to them," said their mother Elizabeth. "You know, and that's the magic. That is the magic."

"They were not in a place to worry about holidays," Sciaraffo said. "So I'm glad we were able to do that for them."

Now the McGowans and other families donate toys to the Secret Sandy Claus Project which has grown enormously in the past five years.

"We have officially become our own charity this year," Sciaraffo said.

He has now teamed with the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots effort. Moving forward with his project "Sandy Claus" is still the gift at the end of the rainbow.
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