New England Schools Reach Out to Long Beach after Sandy

Schools and Libraries

January 16, 2013


In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, donations have been pouring into Long Beach Public Schools from schools around the country, carrying with them good wishes and heartfelt support for a speedy and complete recovery from the damage caused by the storm. Two donations, one from a middle school in Massachusetts and another from a middle school in Rhode Island, were delivered in person by representatives of those schools, whose students were touched by news reports of the devastation in this seaside community.


Furnace Brook Middle School is located in Marshfield, Mass., just outside of Plymouth. Student council advisers Lauren Higgins and Janet Landry said that because they also live in a seaside community, Furnace Brook’s students  – who had seen video footage of Sandy events – felt a special empathy for the plight of Long Beach students.


“When they came to us asking what they could do to help, we started making calls,” said Higgins, who thought of Long Beach because her son, whose wife is from Long Island, was recently married at the Allegria Hotel on the Long Beach boardwalk.


After contacting the Long Beach School District and learning of their needs for school supplies and supplies for the nurse’s offices, Higgins reported back to the student council members who launched a letter writing campaign, reached out to their elementary schools and wrote letters in their local paper. Through their efforts, they collected more than 90 boxes of supplies, including index cards, pencils, notebooks, tape dispensers, staplers, library books, rubber gloves, band aids, hand sanitizer and a host of art supplies. With the cash donations they received, Amazon gift cards were purchased to replace classroom rugs that were damaged in the storm.


With the help of fellow teacher Ed Tibbitts, Higgins and Landry made the trek by ferry across the Long Island Sound to deliver the supplies along with the good wishes of students throughout the Marshfield District. Before returning home, they toured through Long Beach, videotaping signs of the recovery efforts so their students could witness the progress that has been made since the storm hit on Oct. 29.


Meanwhile, at Tiverton Middle School in Tiverton, R.I., a similar story was unfolding. Student council adviser Loveanne Pauls, who grew up on Long Island, reached out to friends still living in the area to locate the schools that had the greatest need. After contacting Long Beach Public Schools and hearing of the district’s plight, she reported back to her student council members, who immediately set to work organizing a bake sale, a Hats On Day and a Dress Down Day. They raised a total of $750 to help the Long Beach recovery efforts. They also collected dozens of boxes of books and school supplies, which will be distributed to Long Beach students along with handmade cards from the Tiverton students filled with good wishes.