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Xmas Time For Sandy Victims

Local lax team help out Long Beach rivals

Armed with a truckload of poinsettias, the Garden City Boys’ Lacrosse team brought Christmas to Long Beach last year. Superstorm Sandy brought about a time during which the sport became secondary to helping the neighboring towns that were affected so catastrophically.

The team will be honored at the Long Beach Christmas Angel Annual Holiday Fundraiser on Dec. 6 for the support it brought post-Sandy Long Beach.

For the past 15 years, the team has begun its season with a holiday poinsettia fundraiser to subsidize team season expenses. Last year, however, the boys decided to add a facet to their project. Reaching out to their village and alumni of teams past, the team collected enough donations to offset the cost of more than 400 poinsettias as well as a $1200 gift for Red Cross Sandy relief funds.

“I was proud of them for taking the initiative,” said head coach Steve Finnell. “We play Long Beach and it’s a big rivalry, but they’re friends and it’s nice to see in a time of need, because it’s bigger than playing a game on the field.”

In the weeks after the hurricane, the Long Beach Christmas Angel offered basic living essentials to Sandy victims out of the St. Ignatius Parish gymnasium. Among the things lost, Sandy washed away the townspeople’s Christmas decorations that had been previously stored in the church basement.

This void became the perfect way for the lacrosse team to help in even the smallest way.

“It was so touching, because the streets were covered in dirty sewage, no one had electric and the west end was completely unoccupied,” said foundation president Johanna Sofield. “Christmas was an absolute afterthought and in came a truckload of poinsettias. The residents could take a little holiday cheer home with them.”

The entire team delivered the poinsettias to St. Ignatius. They created the concept on their own, and received no community service hours.

“As a parent, I saw residents walk out crying because they were so happy just because of the poinsettias,” said Judith Dolan mother of senior lacrosse member, Dan Dolan.

The nonprofit organization started in an effort to help those of Long Beach in financial need especially around the holidays. But when Sandy struck, it mattered not who had wealth the week before; everyone was sent into financial crisis.

This prompted Johanna Sofield and her associates to redirect their goal to one in which they aid residents in regaining normalcy by moving back into their homes as soon as possible. Long Beach Christmas Angel (LBCA) works closely with the Robin Hood Foundation, which has granted them $210,000 since last January. LBCA has assisted residents with $64,600 in plumbing and $63,990 in contracting needs.

This will be the 12th Annual Fundraiser for the Long Beach Christmas Angel. The fundraiser will honor community member such as the lacrosse team for their support in addition to raising funds to continue the charity’s work.