‘Tis the season for giving.
The New York City Sanitation Department (DSNY) Columbia Association played the role of Saint Nick as organizer and member of the Board of Directors for the group Daniel Costantino, joined by Paul Romano, presented a check and brought tons of toys and books to the Stanley S. Lamm Preschool, 500 19th Street.
On Wednesday, December 14, the duo delivered boxes of toys to the kids, who range from three to five years old, and are special education students.
Costantino, who ran a coat drive during the fall to keep the homeless warm, was thrilled to deliver the goodies to youngsters during the holiday season.
“It’s especially important to remember that there are children in our own backyard that aren’t afforded the same luxuries as some other children. We can’t forget that every child deserves a present from Santa during the holiday season,” he said. “We want to make sure they’re not forgotten, especially the children with special needs who come from low income households. We want to make sure that they enjoy Christmas just as much as everyone else.”
The toys and other gifts were donated by the DSNY Columbia Association, the GUND toy company, Toys R Us and Kohl’s.
“GUND very receptive to what we do and how we help the children within our community, and they were more than willing to make the donation in order to help us achieve our goals,” Costantino said. “We need toys spanning different age groups to make sure there is something appropriate for each child.”
Kathy McCormick, executive director at the school, was surprised and delighted by the kind gesture.
“It means a lot. Our children will just love the gifts,” she said. “The money that we got from the Columbia Association we will put in a fund and use it for the school. We need a paint job, and new furniture for the classrooms. I’m going to work with Mr. Costantino to determine what things would be the best use of the money. We’re going to build on this and use this as a promotion to raise more funds for those things as well.”
The presents were extra special for McCormick and company. “They’re going to be thrilled with them,” she said of the kids. “We have restrictions on the money we can spend and buying gifts is not something we can do with it so this will be extra special. They’ll all get a little something.”
According to McCormick, the students at the school all have special needs. Some are on the autism spectrum, and some experience challenges because they were born prematurely. “They all need additional support so that when they do get into general education classes when they’re older, they can go in with a minimal amount of additional services,” she explained. “We give them a really good start. They’re going to be thrilled. What kid doesn’t like toys and it’s the season.”