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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

MANDEVILLE, La. - A Slidell-based donation effort for Sandy victims is headed for round two.

The Train of Hope, which sent donations and supplies for families in the Northeast on an Amtrak, is now collecting toys for storm victims. Those will head North next week with personal letters written by St. Tammany Parish school children.

Some are hand-written, others hand-colored. Some are typed on traditional computers and some are touched on iPads. But regardless of the way they're written, these personalized notes all share the same message.

'Back in 2005, we knew how it felt to lose everything, that they will recover, I know it,' said Cory Koenig, a fourth grader.

Josie Reitzell, a fifth grader, said, 'They're probably gonna be happy that somebody else knows what they're going through'

The letters are being crafted district-wide.

'It gave our students the chance to show compassion for other students who are in the same situation,' said Susan Patin, principal at Lake Harbor Middle School.

And the messages will be shared on behalf of the New Orleans area as a passenger on the second 'Train of Hope.' It was an effort to collect relief supplies for the Northeast the first time, and now, the goal is to make sure children have Christmas toys, and maybe get a pen-pal at the same time.

Co-founder of 'Train of Hope' Kim Bergeron said, 'People don't realize how important it is to rebuild people's spirits as much as it is to rebuild their homes.'

This spirit boost comes courtesy of the children of the Northshore.

The second 'Train of Hope' trip takes off next Friday. To learn how to get involved with the 'Train of Hope,' click here.

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