The origins of the Secret Sandy Claus Project began in the weeks leading up to Christmas after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, one of the most destructive and costliest hurricanes in United States history. Homes were destroyed. Families were displaced. Many did not even have heat for some of the coldest months to come after.
So on December 9th, 2012, a man named Michael "Sandy Claus" Sciaraffo decided to start some local toy drives in his neighborhood and find children who lost their toys in the storm to replace the ones the storm swept away from their childhoods.
The goal was to spend the rest of December matching up as many children as he could with a toy they had lost or had asked for Christmas from Santa and deliver it to them at their homes. To locate these children in need, Michael took to Facebook and posted about what he wanted to do to help families recovering from the storm. Very quickly, it started going viral and within 4 days after posting the offer on Facebook, he had collected over 750 toys that he had to fit in his 1 bedroom apartment in Gravesend, Brooklyn, N.Y. Wherever families were affected, he began to don a Santa suit and started delivering toys to children in the Rockaways, Brooklyn, Staten Island and some parts of Long Island and New Jersey.
By the 11th day after beginning his personal mission, the Secret Sandy Claus Project became worldwide news practically overnight, when the story of "Sandy Claus", the real life Santa Claus, was featured in every newspaper around the world on Dec. 21st, 2012.
As a result, the project had now begun garnering worldwide and national news media coverage such as the Associated Press, CNN , ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Fox News Channel, CBS National News and many other news outlets. From there it blossomed rapidly and grew exponentially with each passing day into a grass roots run relief effort utilizing the use of social media, volunteers, donations, data collection, transportation capabilities, storage facilities and a common goal: to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy put the pieces of their lives back together.
Throughout all of 2013, the Secret Sandy Claus Project had begun to strategically organize relief efforts by recruiting volunteers locally and from around the country, securing truck donations, receiving monetary and physical donations from generous donors and began the work of addressing the needs of those affected by Superstorm Sandy on a much larger scale.
We began working with many relief hubs and other organizations on the ground in all affected areas by making bulk deliveries of food, water, furniture, clothing , cleaning supplies, appliances and other supplies that were needed at the time. We provided direct relief to all affected areas of Hurricane Sandy and helped to alleviate the financial burdens placed on the relief hubs and organizations assisting on the ground at the time.
By putting the infrastructure in place to start putting a dent into the damage that wreaked havoc across our ocean fronts, many thousands of families in need received items of relief from the Secret Sandy Claus Project, from one end of the devastated coastline to the other.
By December 2013, the Secret Sandy Claus Project wanted to maintain and continue its commitment to the children affected by Superstorm Sandy and sought to expand beyond just the one man in a single Santa suit.
Given the enormous outpouring of support from many kind-hearted individuals over the course of the year, Michael began to plan a dramatic expansion of his original operation from 2012 by leading an effort to recruit over 200 Santa's and Elves in time for Christmas 2013.
Together, due to the amazing monetary and toy donations we continued to receive from our generous support base, our newly assembled team of amazing volunteers were able to deliver thousands of toys dressed as Santa to children from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey and even kids affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma that year.
From 2014 to 2017, the Secret Sandy Claus Project's mission dramatically expanded even further than before to ensure as many children as possible can have the experience of Sandy Claus visiting them for Christmas. We are proud that the Secret Sandy Claus Project is formerly the individual direct delivery arm of the NYC Marines Toys for Tots organization. It helped us to expand our shared goals to distribute as many toys to children who are less fortunate throughout New York City as we possibly can. We intend to continue our mission further by delivering toys to thousands of children at their homes dressed as Santa and by hosting toy distribution events throughout New York City and beyond.
Our organization originally began only delivering toys and relief items to thousands of individual families affected by Hurricane Sandy.
But now we have the capacity to now help many more children in need; whether it be a child who may be stricken with childhood cancer, disabled, homeless, in a foster home or economically disadvantaged, we will now be able to bring smiles to them as well. It really opens up the possibilities for who our organization can help.
With this extensive network built by the Secret Sandy Claus Project, there is so much potential for us to help the people who need it most. But we need your help. Please Donate or Join our team today!
Your donation will not only aid in helping families and children in need across NYC, it is also entirely tax-deductible. Every dollar makes a huge difference! Thank you taking the time to learn about us.
If you BELIEVE in keeping Santa's sleigh flying, please donate today!!!