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Family Joins Grassroots New Toy Drive For Sandy Victims

Westborough's Barton family, at 2 Quail Hollow Road, is among those holding new toy drives through Al's Angels.

New, unwrapped toys for newborns through 10 year olds began being brought to the Barton house Saturday.

Kids in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey will receive Hanukkah and Christmas presents, despite losing most everything, if not everything, to Superstorm Sandy.

The Bartons are among the many volunteers holding toy drives this month through Al’s Angels, a nonprofit organization which provides “children in dire need of vital and lifesaving medical treatment with hope and support,” according to its website. The organization focuses on the Tri-State area.

Al’s Angels founder Al DiGuido is a friend of Tim Barton.

“When Sandy hit, he kind of shuffled and started to focus a lot of their efforts on relief for Sandy victims,” Barton said.

The Bartons are accepting donations of new, unwrapped, appropriate small toys for newborns  through 10 year olds at their home, 2 Quail Hollow Road until 8 a.m. this Saturday.

Monetary donations are being accepted as well, and should be left in an envelope in the Bartons’ mailbox, Tim Barton said.

The Bartons will load a small rental truck this Saturday and immediately bring the donations to Westport, Conn., where the donations will be sorted by age, Barton said Sunday. The donations will be delivered starting Dec. 16 to the Rockaways, parts of Long Island, parts of Staten Island, and parts of New Jersey, he said.

“The numbers are staggering. There’s literally thousands of kids who lost everything,” Barton said.

“We all have friends and family in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.  Everybody’s impacted. It just made sense for us to get actively involved.”

In November, the Bartons ran a clothing drive for the victims of Sandy.

“The reason I’m involved with (DiGuido) is because it’s a grassroots organization,” Barton said.

“There’s no bureaucracy. There’s no politics. There’s nobody on staff. There’s no salaries. Everyone is volunteers. And as soon as you put things into play, it gets to where it needs to get to.”

In total, the clothing drives conducted through Al’s Angels collected “thousands of pieces of clothing, and (Al’s Angels) were able to distribute it with Budget Rent-A-Car trucks right to the homes right away.”

Barton said his family “filled a large cargo van. We figured over 100 bags of clothing”: jackets, gloves, scarves and shoes.

“The clothing drop was easy. We just opened our garage and people dropped off the stuff,” Barton said.

Barton anticipates placing toy drive posters around Westborough.

“I’m a big fan of helping, particularly children because they are so helpless,” he said.

“It’s a tough time of year. Everybody is asked to give everywhere they go, from every cause, and it’s obviously hard. So what I mention to people is, ‘If you can’t give, that’s okay. But, spread the word. Because if you can get someone else who can give, you’ve done a wonderful service. That’s all we can ask.’”

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