In conjunction with Peter Corless of the Rockaways/Hurricane Sandy News network, the Sandy Claus Foundation will host “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes.”
On Saturday, January 12, at 10 a.m., community members will walk alongside elected officials taking a tour of the still-devastated areas in the Rockaways, Seaside, and Staten Island, to name a few neighborhoods.
The walk hopes to highlight the devastation to members of Congress days before they vote on $51 billion in storm relief.
“Everyone is ‘Sandied’ out,” said Michael “Sandy Claus” Sciaraffo, founder of the Sandy Claus Foundation, which was formed to deliver toys to kids affected by Sandy.
Some members of Congress even voted against the initial $9 billion in aid, and Sciaraffo said that this event is intended to put pressure on them. He said it is hurtful for politicians to turn their backs on these victims.
“New York and New Jersey still need help,” he said. “This is a disgrace.”
Sciaraffo said that politicians in Washington have forgotten about the issues that still face New York even months after the storm. Blaming the fiscal cliff controversy for taking the focus off of Sandy relief, Sciaraffo said, “This is a crime, people are left out in the cold.”
In a short time, response has been good. Sciaraffo said that 550 people have already signed up to take part in one of the one-mile walks.
He added that New York can’t wait on politicians any longer. Instead, he calls on “the citizens of the world” to lend a helping hand, but not much. He said that he will request just $1 per person.
“100 percent of the proceeds will go to helping the families affected by Hurricane Sandy,” he said.
After the storm hit, Sciaraffo emerged from his home and found the blocks around his in Coney Island destroyed.
Once he saw the devastation, he knew he needed to do something. So he put on a Santa suit and went around to local businesses and residents requesting donations to buy toys, which he then handed out to Hurricane Sandy victims. Hence, the Sandy Claus Foundation was born.