Local News

Raleigh Woman Continues Tradition Of Delivering Smiles To Young Disaster Victims

Posted November 18, 2002

— Boxes of joy are on the way to children affected by killer tornadoes earlier this month thanks to a Raleigh-based disaster aid organization.

The images were at once frightening and amazing -- an outbreak of deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms killed at least 35 people in five states.

"It was absolutely horrible," said Christy Sanderson of Operation Toy Box. "I go into what you call disaster mode."

Disaster mode means putting together hundreds of toy kits and shipping them to children effected by disasters.

"They're terrified by the wind, terrified of the rain. We just want to give them something to hold on to and smile about," Sanderson said.

Sanderson's

Operation Toy Box

has been bringing smiles to children under stress for six years.

"As soon as a disaster happens, the first thing that comes to mind after I realize I'm OK, and everyone around me is OK, is how can we help others?" she said.

Sanderson said she has seen the impact of what she does firsthand.

"When you hand a child a toy, their face just lights up because you're giving them a piece of happiness. You're giving them a piece of what they lost, and that's their comfort," she said.

Operation Toy Box has brought relief to children in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, North Dakota, Florida and Alabama.

Operation Toy Box is accepting donations of toys and time. For more information call (919) 554-1410.

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