Before singing Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” outside Dear Little Dollies on Dec. 7, St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church cantor Viki Sorrentino reminded her audience about those who may not be able to spend the holidays in their homes because they were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“A lot of us haven’t been so fortunate this holiday season after Hurricane Sandy,” she said. “We’re singing about home, and home is where the heart is, and we hope everyone remembers that.”
Inside the shop behind her, the owners of Dear Little Dollies said they were working to bring holiday cheer to children displaced by or still feeling the effects of the storm by collecting funds and new toys for “Sandy’s Kids.”
Marijane Camilleri, whose mother opened Dear Little Dollies in Bellmore in 1987, said the holiday event was a grand finale for the toy and donation drive that store owners began after Hurricane Sandy swept across the Northeast on Oct. 29.
On Dec. 7, customers could listen to carols sung by Sorrentino and the St. Barnabas choir, sample free desserts, shop for holiday-themed figurines in a line of dolls now offered at Dear Little Dollies and donate to the shop’s charitable cause.
The store’s owners partnered with the St. Barnabas Parish Outreach Program to locate children who may be in need of a new toy for Hanukkah or Christmas, with the help of a social worker. Before last week’s event, Camilleri said 65 items were given to the church for distribution, 90 percent of which were donated by Dear Little Dollies.
“Everyone has to do what they are good at to help the community,” Camilleri said. “This is about providing a different level of assistance, since this is for healing the heart.”
Owners decided to hold an event in conjunction of with the holiday extravaganza hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores. Sorrentino, accompanied by pianist Ben Weiss, sang carols outside the shop and was later joined by the entire church choir. They used sound equipment donated by Paul Casanova, music director of Rock Underground down the street from Dear Little Dollies on Bedford Avenue.