To the Editor:
As many of you already know we have done a number of different charitable events between Seaside Heights and Morristown. I went down this past Tuesday and met with the Seaside Heights Elementary school principal and he was kind enough to show me around. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see the complete devastation their school endured with 3-4 feet of water completely destroying anything in its path.
As many of you may be aware of, I had the privilege of being involved in the planning stages of a birthday party for a 9-year-old Morristown boy that asked for his friends and family to bring items for him to donate to the children over at the Shore in lieu of birthday presents. I will be taking those items over next week to the Seaside Heights Mayor’s Council meeting on the 20th of this month to make sure that Giovanni Rivera is formally recognized for his selfless act of kindness.
It then occurred to me to continue to add to the surplus of items that have already been collected thus far. As speaking with Chris, the principal of the school, he reiterated that it probably couldn’t have come at a better time for his students to receive the items I was delivering next week. He went on to share that prior to Hurricane Sandy, 94% of the students at his school received either free or reduced lunches and many of the parents were employed up on the boardwalk.
With the FEMA money reaching the end of the road many families are concerned that they will have no home to go home to, let alone pay for it with the unfortunate "price gouging" that seems to be going on. At this point items such as juice boxes, graham crackers, coloring books, matchbox cars would almost be considered a luxury to many of these students.
That is when I proposed to do the best that I could to get my town and the surrounding communities on board to help me collect additional supplies such as snack packs, juice boxes, fruit cups, small toys, etc. since most to these children have lost everything. I decided to go out on a limb and spend a substantial amount of our own money at Walmart and to start putting these plastic totes together to show folks what it is we are exactly trying to do. It’s my hope that after you see for yourself what a difference it could make for the 145 children, you will support our proposition.
Prior to the storm there were 250 children in attendance at the school; now they have 145 children that are either still in hotels, living in their cars, living with family members or are (allegedly) living back in town illegally. As you can see from the totes I have put together, along with the receipt for the items; all I am asking is for you to consider to ‘sponsor a tote for $50’ that will be delivered next Wednesday to a whole bunch of really surprised little kids. The school serves Pre-K thru 6th grade and they plan to be back by the beginning of the next school year.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and please feel free to contact us with additional questions. To make it as easy as possible, I am either proposing that you can send a check to the PO Box listed below to sponsor a tote and we will give you credit when we present the tote in the form a note. I might even suggest to make it a little more personal, if you would like to add your own message or card, we will make sure to include it in the tote. Or if you would prefer to build your own tote, that would be perfectly fine as well.
If you need suggestions, believe me we have plenty. we hope to hear from as many of you as possible. We would like to at the very latest have this wrapped up by next Tuesday the 19th, since we are going down the following day.
Berit Ollestad & Nick Prizzi
Sandy Relief Co-Coordinators
P.O. Box 803
Morristown, NJ 07960