Last updated: February 19. 2013 10:18PM - 372 Views

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PLAINS TWP. – Lauren Best, a sixth-grade student at Wyoming Area Catholic, stood smiling as she collected toys and clothes for Operation Jersey Shore Santa on Saturday at Atlas Realty on Route 315.


The event was the collection of new toys and clothes to be directed to Jersey shore residents still affected by the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.


Best got the idea during a day off from school during the storm. Watching television coverage of the tragedy, her heart went out to those needing to leave their homes and their lives behind. Having frequently vacationed there, she had a firsthand understanding of the beauty of the area and the nature of the devastation.


She and her mom, Keri, searched the Internet to find an organization to work with to reach out to the storm victims. Operation Jersey Shore Santa fit the bill, directing proceeds directly to those in need.


Many of those affected by the storm left everything behind, not realizing the severity of the storm, said Keri Best.


Many are living in hotels, running out of funds.


We want to remember them during the holiday and make their lives a little better, she said.


Edward Best, Lauren's father, was also determined to make it happen, after he heard of his daughter's desire to help. He helped obtain a truck for collection of the donations and delivered them to Woodbridge, N.J. on Saturday afternoon.


The family said that recent events in Connecticut made it even more important to show concern for children and families undergoing hardship.


Even during this busy holiday season, with gifts waiting to be wrapped, the Bests said this was a perfect way to spend a Saturday.


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