While people are busy buying gifts for their loves ones, one Havre de Grace resident is gathering presents for people she's never met.
Through Dec. 14, Sonya Cubberley is collecting donations for students at Manasquan Elementary and High schools in Manasquan, NJ. Those wishing to donate can drop off new toys to donation bins at Bill Bateman's Bistro, Havre de Grace Activity Center Havre de Grace City Hall, Havre de Grace Visitors Center, Laurrapin Grille, Meadowvale Elementary School, Havre de Grace Middle School, Havre de Grace High School and Drayer Physical Therapy in Aberdeen.
"There are over 334 students in these two schools [whose] parents will need help providing gifts for this holiday season," said Cubberley, who has made several trips this month to New Jersey, where she grew up, to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
On Nov. 2, days after the storm hit, Cubberley drove donations from Havre de Grace to a shelter in Burlington NJ, that was housing 300 people. She and two others donated carloads of supplies to Mountain Christian and the Susquehanna Hose Company, which were sending relief north as well.
"I will continue to collect items as long as there is a need in New Jersey and New York," said Cubberley.
From Nov. 23 to Dec. 14, she's spearheading a toy drive with Kim Fillinger, another Havre de Grace resident she knows through Girl Scouts.
Here are some observations from Cubberley's trips to New Jersey since the storm:
There was a little girl who was celebrating her birthday the day we went up, so her mom was thrilled with the new clothes we brought. She said, "This way I will have something to give her."
There was a 10th-grade boy from Seaside who told my daughter they had to evacuate their home when the water was up to their neck. They would have done it sooner but they didn’t have anywhere to go.
In addition to multiple donation drop-off spots, people can donate new toys at two "Stuff the Trailer" events: one from 5-8 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Pennington and Washington, during the holiday parade, and another from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Bill Bateman's during the Susquehanna Hose Company's Ravens fundraiser.