UPDATE: Red Cross offers help for girl’s Sandy teddy bear drive

Posted at 7:26 PM, Dec 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-31 13:42:15-05

CHESTERFIELD, Va (WTVR) -- An initiative to collect stuffed animals for the young victims of Superstorm Sandy has run into a bit of an obstacle when it comes to delivering the goods.

Nine-year-old Lizzy Kandris remembers watching television and seeing children her age being evacuated as Hurricane Sandy destroyed their homes. Those images made her want to help the victims.

"She wanted to do something but she was too little, so she came up with a stuffed animal drive to help the kids," Eve Kandris, Lizzy's mother, said.

Once she started collecting stuffed animals, the effort spread and people donated from near and far.

By the time Christmas arrived, animals had come in from around the country, filling nearly 100 boxes with 2,800 stuffed animals in every shape, size and color.

However, the companies that originally said they could help deliver the animals to New York and New Jersey were not returning the family's calls.

Christmas came and went as the boxed stuffed animals waited in a donated storage building in Chester.

For Lizzy, the time has come to get the stuffed animals distributed to the kids.

"I think this will change every child's life once we get them there," Lizzy said.

The American Red Cross in Richmond said the organization will work to try to help out the little girl, whose Christmas wish, was simply to help others.

"It makes such a tremendous difference, you see a child whose been separated from their home after a house fire -- and you hand them that stuffed animal, it helps give them a since of comfort," Jon McNamara with the American Red Cross said.