Oak Knoll School students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae/i all participated in Hurricane Sandy outreach projects to aid those in need after the unprecedented storm hit the tri-state area this fall.
Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the Jersey Shore and nearby Staten Island on Oct. 29 when it made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone. The storm, exacerbated by higher tides from a full moon, caused massive destruction, leaving many New Jerseyeans without homes this winter.
Catherine Bonner, Class of 2014 organized a coat drive for the Jersey Shore residents and personally delivered 215 coats and another 25 shoes, scarves, hats, and gloves to Monmouth Beach Borough Hall on Dec. 15. Coats were available to residents for pickup from 1 to 4 p.m. and the remainder were donated to Unfailing Love Ministries in Asbury Park.
While Catherine and her family fared well by comparison during the storm, many of their family's friends down the shore were devastated by Sandy.
"When my brother and I were off from school, we stayed at our shore house," Catherine said. "Every day we would go to help our friends tear apart their homes and memories. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see tears streaming down a grown woman's face because her home had been demolished."
The Alumnae Association joined forces with the students, faculty, and staff and donated coats to the cause.
"Outreach is one of the most important things we do, and in the face of such horrific destruction that hit so close to home, we felt compelled to support those impacted by the storm," said Board President Bea Metzger Fagan '85.
The Alumnae/i Association is planning additional relief efforts for 2013.
The Lower School faculty, students, and their families also got involved, donating 671 pounds of urgently needed food to the Interfaith Pantry in Morris Plains. Many food banks and shelters depleted all of their reserves during the storm and desperately needed to replenish. Items donated included Parmalat, brown and white rice, soups, canned spaghetti/tomato sauce, and canned meats and meals.
The Parents' Association also donated a portion of the proceeds from the Royal Boutique, rescheduled from Hurricane Sandy until November 15-17, to the Connelly Center for Education in Manhattan. Many families of the school's students were left homeless by Hurricane Sandy.
"In light of the enormous losses so many are still facing after Hurricane Sandy, the Parents' Association decided to donate a portion of the Royal Boutique proceeds to those in need within the Holy Child network," said Jackie Robinson, event co-chair. "We sincerely appreciated all the parents who volunteered their time to help us hold the Royal Boutique so soon after Hurricane Sandy. It's a great fundraising tradition and community building event for Oak Knoll. Thank you to all who supported the event!"