Holiday Gift-Lift sends hundreds of toys to children in Puerto Rico

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico (WSVN) — A generous group from South Florida showed the true spirit of the season by delivering hundreds of toys to Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria.

Volunteers Chris Sloan and Lara Richardson, along with some powerful sponsors, came together for Operation Puerto Rico Holiday Gift-Lift soon after the storm.

“Kids who have been through so much trauma to be denied the holidays is something that is unacceptable,” said Sloan.

Toys arrived from all over the world and was flown for free to the town of Aguadilla in Puerto Rico by Spirit Airlines and JetBlue, Sunday.

“Christmas is coming, and how are you going to provide for your kids for that?” said Richardson. “It broke my heart to think about that.”

Sloan and Richardson said responses to the operation have been overwhelming.

“The response we’ve gotten here reminds you that the world is fundamentally a good place with good people,” said Sloan. “It reassures us that we have good times ahead of us and the world is still a wonderful place.”

A giant party was thrown in celebration of the operation, and thousands of residents showed up as early as 6 a.m for toys, food and to dance.

“I wanted her to see something different, ” said resident Aida Abrante, holding her young daughter, “because we’ve so much destruction. She had no where to go, so we were like, ‘Let’s go and have fun.'”

The Category 4 stormed killed 64 people and wiped out power to the entire island.

“We are lucky for being alive. Just for being alive,” said resident Doris Lassalle, “to have our kids be happy, enjoy the life, and spending time with them.”

Close to 5,000 residents arrived up to the giveaway.

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