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Facebook group matches Sandy victims with Thanksgiving hosts

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For victims of superstorm Sandy, this Thanksgiving will be difficult, but a Facebook group is hoping to alleviate some of the pain.

Ellie Aichele, of Toms River N.J., started the “Hurricane Sandy Thanksgiving Adopt a Family for Dinner” group to pair up people affected by the storm with families hosting Thanksgiving dinners.

“With the televised visions of the heartbreaking losses from Hurricane Sandy, that have affected so many in NJ and NY, I have decided that I would like to help by matching people in need with families willing to invite them into their homes for a homemade (or store bought) Thanksgiving Dinner,” Aichele wrote on the first post Nov. 5. “Let's offer these families something that they can be truly thankful for during this season of giving.”

Those interested in helping can post messages on the Facebook group’s wall, and Aichele has also contacted local organizations, like the Red Cross, to see if there are interested families. She told CBS News she’s heard from 50 families offering to let Sandy victims take part in their Thanksgiving festivities. She also lauded the generosity some of the volunteers are offering.

"I had one woman who offered not only her home for dinner," Aichele said, "They're providing transportation, offering guests to stay overnight, take a shower. They have restored my faith in humanity. They just can't do enough.”

The group has racked up 600 likes in its few weeks of existence, and posts have ranged from the heartbreaking to the heartwarming, reenforcing that it’s still a dire situation for many.

Even today, posts on the group’s wall are still offering to host displaced residents. “Would like to host dinner for a family for today. I live in Kingston NY and will come and pick up ASAP,” offered Vincent Conigliaro.

Aichele said she plans to keep the group running through Christmas, because the huge response it received is “warming [her] heart.”

Photo via unclesam916/Hashgram