Assemblyman John Amodeo left Atlantic County at 8 a.m. Wednesday to deliver hundreds of toys and supplies donated by area residents for the children that witnessed the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary Dec. 14. Joining him in his three and a half hour ride to Newtown, Connecticut was Greg Depiano, president of the Atlantic County Toys for Kids program, and Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles.
?It was a life changing experience,? said Amodeo. ?I didn?t think anyone could imagine celebrating Christmas under the wake of tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But the spirit of Christmas has pushed through, even there, like always and like never before. Donations and gifts of love were everywhere.?
Thanks to a donation from “Pay it Forward NJ,” and the community, Atlantic County Toys for Kids, along with the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, the three made the delivery to the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which eight of the child victims of the massacre attended. Waiting for them in the cold rain to accept the donations was Newtown?s First Selectman Patricia Llodra.
“We know Christmas now in a way we never thought we would know it,” Amodeo said. ?The kids need to feel safe and I think the overwhelming outpour of caring, which has come from all over the country, will help. In Newton, Christmas became a celebration of the lives lost and a beginning of the healing that needs to take place there.?