BRICK – In just the span of a week, the district’s eight elementary schools collected hundreds of boxes of supplies to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the Gulf Coast region of the United States.
“We were notified the day after school opened,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Susan McNamara. “We understand the urgency since we went through Sandy.”
Elementary school students, staff and administrators partnered with OnCourse Systems for Education for the “Fill the Bus” initiative, when donation boxes at the schools were filled with items such as cleaning supplies, nonperishable food, school supplies, health supplies and much more.
OnCourse Systems is a company that supplies online formats for lesson planning and curriculum building that the Brick School District has been working with for a number of years, McNamara said.
“They called and said they were putting this initiative together, that they would supply the means of getting all this stuff down to affected areas,” she said as she helped to load supplies onto a truck outside the Board of Education offices, located in the Veterans Complex, on September 19.
Education Technology Specialist for OnCourse Systems, Nichelle Tolbard, said that they are visiting schools and collecting supplies from New Jersey schools that were hit by Superstorm Sandy.
“It gives the students the opportunity to pay it back in a tangible way, to support the efforts in Texas, Louisiana and Florida,” she said as she helped to load a truck.
All the supplies would be ground-delivered to a distribution center in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, she said.
Vehicles from all eight elementary schools arrived at the Board of Education offices and lined up at 3 p.m. to unload all the supplies that had been collected at their school.
Lanes Mill Elementary School Principal Jeffrey Luckenbach was helping to unload over 40 boxes of supplies that had been collected at his school.
“The children worked hard gathering donations, so many parents were able to contribute,” he said.
The items were on display in the hallway at Lanes Mill, so on Back to School Night parents were able to see everything that had been donated, Luchenbach said.
“Sometimes parents don’t realize that when they send in a donation, it has an impact, and it’s part of a much, much bigger picture,” he said.
Students were able to donate items or they could help to box and sort the donated goods, he said.
Acting Superintendent of Schools Dennis Filippone came outside to help unload the cars and load the donations into the truck.
“When Sandy hit us, people from Louisiana, Texas and Florida came to our aid and did exactly what we’re doing today,” Filippone said.
“It’s a great way to pay them back,” he said. “We’ll do anything we can to ease the pain in those areas. It’s our pleasure.”
The eight elementary schools that participated include Emma Havens Young, Drum Point, Herbertsville, Lanes Mill, Midstreams, Osbornville, Veterans Memorial and Warren H. Wolf.