Toys for Tots provides assistance to Oyster Bay program for kids with disabilities

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An Oyster Bay organization dedicated to helping children with disabilities received a tremendous holiday gift Thursday, thanks to the U.S. Marine Corp Toys for Tots program.

The program assisted Peer Pals, a nonprofit kindergarten preparation program for children with disabilities, to build a new sensory room for the children and provided $10,000 worth of specially designed toys to help children learn while they play.

“They are not always able to self-regulate their emotions, so it's nice to be able to bring them into some place and show them that this is a place to be calm and a place they can kind of collect [themselves]," says Peer Pals’ executive director, Julie Keffer. "It's kind of a place the children who are overstimulated by the sensory-friendly play space can go to calm down."

Ricky Hart is a 3-year-old from East Meadow who utilizes Peer Pals and will be able to benefit from the toys. Hart’s mother, Megan Hart, tells News 12 that her son was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old and uses the space to work on his social skills.

"To find an organization like this and be able to donate to them and give them toys…it makes me feel good. It makes us feel good in the Marine Corp,” says Marine Corp Sgt. J.D. Quintin, of Garden City.

Officials with Toys for Tots say that more than $10,000 was raised through corporation and private donations.  

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