SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Utahns hope others will remember the children devastated by Superstorm Sandy this holiday season.
The excitement for the holidays is already building in many neighborhood across the state. About 40 business owners and their families and friends are focused on helping families in New Jersey who are still busy rebuilding their lives after Superstorm Sandy.
"When we saw the footage and heard from our friends and family back east, it really was devastating to see that," said former New Jersey resident Dan Walters.
It's a similar reaction for most of the business owners. The storm struck even closer to home for Walters, though, who lived in a coastal New Jersey community before moving to Utah a few years ago.
"Being so close to family and friends, it's really hard to overlook," Walters said. "So, we're hoping that people can see that and step up and remember that it could happen to anybody."
Walters joined with his friend Nathan Coccimiglio to gather toys, cash, diapers and other necessities to help the families in New Jersey.
"A lot of the other charities — the Red Cross and such — provide all of the necessities — the blood and money and get everybody back on their feet," Coccimiglio said. "But one thing that's overlooked is the toys."
"It reminds me that giving is a lot better than getting," added Isabella Brown, who is helping with the toy drive.
The business owners are thrilled to see how many toys have already come in, but it you're considering whether to donate toys or cash, cash is a more efficient option because they can buy the toys once they're in New Jersey.
"We want to be able to give back to the kids and relieve that stress from the parents as well," Coccimiglio said.
On business is even auctioning off a car to donate all proceeds to the toy drive. They're working with an airline and a transportation company for help to deliver the goods before Christmas.
"It's nice to see that we're surrounded by people that will step up and go out of their way to help other people, especially so far away," Coccimiglio said.
The business owners have set up a website called "Support From Utah" that gives multiple drop-off locations and a way you can donate online. All of the contributions go directly to the victims.