WESTPORT, Conn. — Al’s Angels, which helps those in need year round, has been using its “angel power" to bring cheer to those who need it most this holiday season.
The group has been busy this year, distributing toys and food to families faced with challenges in their day-to-day lives. This year’s efforts have been especially successful, according to Al’s Angels founder Al DiGuido of Westport.
DiGuido said he has gathered more toys than he was expecting for children in need. He had hoped to collect and purchase 6,000 toys — but ended up with nearly 10,000.
The extra toys have been sending him into a healthy frenzy.
“We have been scrambling up until [Wednesday] to make sure as many of the toys as possible were distributed,” DiGuido told the Daily Voice on Thursday.
It takes an army to prepare the gifts. DiGuido said the angels help at gift-wrapping parties in a space that is loaned to them. It basically became “Santa’s workshop annex,” he said.
The group was also distributing food to those who need it. Volunteers helped to pack more than 3,200 bins full of food — an increase of more than 200 bins from last year.
The bins are delivered to families, who are challenged by cancer, rare blood diseases and severe financial hardship.
Volunteers come from all over Fairfield County with the majority hailing from Westport, Norwalk, Fairfield and New Canaan. Some of DiGuido’s family and friends even make the trip from New Jersey, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, N.Y.
DiGuido said he was inspired by some young people — those are under the age of 10 — who dedicate their time to helping others.
“That gives us tremendous hope and enthusiasm for the work that we’re doing,” DiGuido said. “There are great young people out there who do really believe in helping other folks. They want to roll up their sleeves and do the heavy lifting that’s required to get done what we need to get done.”
While DiGuido has had another successful year with the Angels, he always wants to do more.
“There are many more families that we could reach,” he said. “The only thing that separates us from reaching those people is resources.”
And while Al’s Angels’ events events attract hundreds of volunteers, the group could always more helping hands.
“We need more Angels,” he said. “We’ll never tap out of our need for volunteers.”
For more information on Al’s Angels, visit its website here .
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