Holiday toy drive helps families displaced by flooding in Paterson, New Jersey

ByEyewitness News, Anthony Carlo WABC logo
Sunday, December 24, 2023
Paterson toy giveaway brings joy to families affected by floods
Anthony Carlo has the story.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Despite all the Christmas joy, it has been a rough year for some families in Paterson, compounded by the flooding that hit the city last week.

So, there is more of a reason for Santa's helpers to work a little harder this year.

The 30th annual Paterson toy drive was held Sunday afternoon by the New Jersey Community Development Corportation's AmeriCorps team to give to families in need.

The Community Charter School of Paterson was transformed into the North Pole Sunday. The mayor of Paterson, Andre Sayegh, donned a different suit to spread holiday cheer.

"Median income in Paterson is about $49,000 - a lot of people are under the poverty line," said Sayegh. "No one goes home without Christmas."

Monday's storm caused flooding that swallowed up communities along the Passaic River, upending holiday plans for many families.

"It was supposed to be you know my first New Year in my new home with my new baby - everyone at my house - but maybe next year we can have that," said Priscilla Canales.

Organizers say they handed out seven thousand toys to six hundred families.

The toy giveaway was also used as an opportunity to help families displaced by the flooding.

"We try our best to connect them with other - like networks or programs - that can help relieve that stress, that burden, because many lost clothing, their homes," said Sayegh. "We're still seeing some flooding in areas - the river is rescinding - but fortunately things are getting better."

RELATED: Winter festivities across the Tri-State area to celebrate the holiday season


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