An Anonymous Gift Makes For A Brighter Christmas For South Fork Kids

Nada Barry, left, and Gwen Waddington, right, of the Wharf Shop with Jenna Solis and Luna Paucar of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, who bought gifts to be distributed to needy children in the community with the proceeds from an anonymous gift. COURTESY WHARF SHOP

Christmas is bound to be a little brighter for hundreds of needy children on the South Fork, thanks to an anonymous couple who decided they wanted their charitable dollars to stay close to home.

Lisa Field of the Sag Harbor Variety Store said she was introduced to the husband by Shane Dyckman, the owner of SagTown Coffee. “He said he and his wife were talking and they wanted to do something for kids who are in need in the community,” she said. “He said, ‘I’d like to buy toys, but I don’t know where to distribute them.’ I said, ‘I don’t either, but give me a little time.’”

Ms. Field contacted the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center and the Sag Harbor Food Pantry. Upon learning the couple wanted to donate $4,000, she also suggested the purchases be split with the Wharf Shop.

“It’s been a tough year for all us,” Ms. Field said. Besides, she added, the Wharf Shop carries different types of toys than the Variety Store. “It made for a nice mix,” she said.

On Saturday, Jenna Solis, the childcare center’s teen program coordinator, and Luna Paucar, a Bridgehampton High School student who participates in the center’s Dream Team program, visited the stores to stock up on gifts that will be distributed as part of the group’s “Shoe Box Drive.”

Thanks to an anonymous donor, clients of the Sag Harbor Food Pantry were able to select a gift for their children on Tuesday. Food pantry director Evelyn Ramunno and Lisa Field of the Sag Harbor Variety Store, who facilitated the donation, stand with the bounty. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

The donation will help the group achieve its goal of filling 200 shoe boxes with gifts for children between the ages of 5 and 14.

“In each box, we want to have one ‘wow’ item,” said Ms. Solis. “Then we pack it up with personal items like journals, pens, art sets, and things they can use every day.” The finishing touch is a note from whatever member of the Dream Team assembled the box.

Some of the gifts were distributed this week at the child care center to children who attend its programs, and the rest were being distributed Wednesday and Thursday to children in need who live in Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Southampton and East Hampton.

“We’re very proud of the Dream Team and what they have come up with,” said Bonnie Cannon, the child care center’s executive director. “So much of the time it’s about what you get, but they were all about what to give.”

In the meantime, on Tuesday, Ms. Field dropped off a load of toys and games to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, reasoning those who need food aid might be hard pressed to buy Christmas gifts as well.

“This really was a blessing,” she said of the gift that paid for it all.