“Ho, ho, ho,” he shouted. “Merry Christmas!”
Ella gazed up at him and smiled as Sciaraffo handed her a toy duck. Sandy struck just after her first birthday party and destroyed all of her new gifts when the basement flooded.
“As you can see from the outside of the house and the inside of the house, it’s been a disaster,” said Elizabeth Sampol, who has been living in a FEMA-funded hotel room for several weeks with her family while their home is repaired. “And we haven’t had time to take her to go see Santa Claus or to do anything that we would want to do for her first Christmas that actually matters.”
Sampol said she was amazed when she learned about Sciaraffo’s project.
“He contacted me and he told me how he’s been going around giving out gifts,” she said. “And I was so happy that someone would do this in his free time.”
A few blocks away, 4-year-old Sophie Creamer waited excitedly by the front door as she caught sight of Sciaraffo coming down the street. And when he handed her a brand-new Barbie doll, she clutched it to her chest and wouldn’t let go.
“It’s all gutted. We don’t have a basement,” said her mother, Lori Creamer. “So she lost all of her toys.”
If all goes according to plan, Sciaraffo is hoping to deliver presents to nearly 1,000 children in the coming days.
As he hoisted his sack of toys over his shoulder, heading off to another delivery, the rain stopped and a rainbow cut a path across the sky. He took it as a sign of good luck.
“You don’t see that every day,” he said, grinning as his beard slipped down his face a little. “Amazing.”