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Rachel Grumman Bender
November 20, 2015

Santa is getting a helping hand this year thanks to philanthropist Carol Suchman.

Although Suchman, a New Yorker, has been donating birthday presents to city children in foster care for the past five years, she was inspired to do more when she walked past a closed toy and stationery store with a “for rent” sign in the window.

Suchman had purchased many gifts for foster children at the Hudson Party Store, which was now shuttered but still loaded with toys on the store’s shelves. She decided to contact the owner, offering to buy everything inside.

“The toys in there looked so sad, and they were gathering dust,” she told CBS MoneyWatch. “It occurred to me we should bring those toys to where they should be going — to all the homeless kids in the city.”

After negotiating with the store owner, Suchman purchased his entire inventory and donated it all to the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS). Volunteers from the organization helped Suchman sort and bag up the toys, which will be distributed throughout homeless shelters across the city over the holidays.

“I said to myself, it’s like that Matt Damon movie I Bought a Zoo, ” she said. “I said, ‘Oh my god, I bought a toy store.’”

Antonio Rodriquez, director of special events at DHS, told NY1 that he was stunned by her generosity. “I’ve been doing this for many years and we have many generous sponsors — people do toy drives and do a lot of giving — but I have to say that this is the first time anybody ever bought out an entire store and donated to the children of shelters,” he said.

Suchman says she’s glad she’s able to pay her good luck forward. She and her husband put themselves through college, and then started their own marketing and PR technology company as newlyweds. “We couldn’t go on a honeymoon because we couldn’t afford it,” she told CBS. But they experienced a windfall when they sold their company years later.

Now, the philanthropist — who normally gives anonymously — is speaking out about her donation so that it inspires others to be generous this holiday season.

“There will definitely be a lot of smiles and happy kids when they get these toys,” Suchman told The Huffington Post. “If it brings them some joy and they realize there are people looking out for them, then my job is done.”
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