Cosmo Casamassa plans to drive to Sandy-ravaged New York and New Jersey a few days before Christmas.
The children there affected by Sandy deserve toys, Westborough Buick GMC’s operations director says.
The Recover Repair Rebuild Initiative co-founded by Casamassa and close friend Mark Forsman initially to help Western Mass. homeowners rebuild from the June 1, 2011 tornado has launched a 30-day fundraising campaign to help the young New York and New Jersey kids affected by Sandy. The effort started Nov. 16 and ends Dec. 15.
Donations may be made at http://www.indiegogo.com/rrrwhataboutthechildren or to Triple-R Bridges the Gap, P.O. Box 82, Brimfield, MA 01010.
Triple-R, which matched volunteers with tornado victims’ needs, was “working on some options for this Christmas for our area,” Casamassa says, “but when Sandy hit, the efforts that we were going to do here were prioritized.”
“Stabilization is nowhere near ready yet. Once the initial stabilization between FEMA and the Red Cross and all the emergency management crews are done, then we can start thinking about doing large-scale cleanup efforts and busing people down, which is our ultimate goal. But, we wanted to help now,” he says.
“I haven’t seen one program out there that was based about the children. The children that are in this natural disaster, they lost everything as well.”
The Triple-R campaign’s main objective is to “raise as much money as possible” by Dec. 15, Casamassa says.
He says he has contacted shelters and rectories in New York and New Jersey affected areas. He plans to contact YMCAs there, too, “to get listings of who needs what.”
He plans to hand-deliver checks to these different groups during the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Christmas, “to take a little bit of the stress off the parents. Because they don’t want their kids to go without a Christmas. But, they lost everything. They’re not thinking about that. We want to give these kids a little hope, a little joy, this holiday season.”
“How many people we can help” depends on the public’s response, he says. Triple-R also has contacted Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us about providing gift cards.
“My kids have already offered to give up their presents to help these children,” Casamassa says.