Editor's Note: The following letter is by Island Trees teacher Amanda Steele.
After organizing a successful donation drive for the victims
of Hurricane Sandy, members of the ITMMS staff, Student Leader Corps, and their
families headed out into the community on Sunday, Nov. 11, in
order to distribute much-needed items.
The first stop was the Long
food pantry in Freeport that provides everything from
groceries and clothing to job training. They were kind enough to give us a tour
of their facility, providing a rewarding experience for all.
The rest of the day took us on a journey we will never
forget. We arrived in a caravan at the FEMA tent in Island Park with a plan to
distribute our donations and volunteer our time in whatever way we could. Upon
arrival, we were saddened to see so many businesses and homes destroyed and
families in need. It was a sight that television and photographs cannot begin
to do justice.
As we began to unload our donations, we were approached by
an employee of the town, begging us to follow her to an area of Oceanside where
just as much was needed, yet there was no FEMA tent or town representatives
there to help. We followed her to a church in Oceanside located in a
neighborhood that was clearly devastated. Within minutes, we were given
important jobs: setting up donation tables and making signs telling people to
come and take whatever they needed.
For the remainder of the day, we stayed at this location
giving out supplies and going door-to-door in the hopes that we could reach as
many residents as possible. The residents of Oceanside were amazing! Their
sense of community and strength was evident, even during these difficult times.
They were sharing with one another, worried they might take something someone
may have a greater need for. People from other communities began coming to us,
leaving donations and volunteering to help. At one point, members of our US
Armed Forces were helping us to keep everyone safe by directing traffic!
True to our Island Trees tradition, the families, staff, and
students of our community gave selflessly and generously throughout this entire
experience. We would like to extend a special thank you to the Lardi, Caffrey, Reilly,
Ragusa, Sharkey, and DiPieta families for their time and enthusiasm.
also like to thank Mrs. Pitzer, Mr. Brennan, Mrs. Barfield, Mrs. Azar, and the
Burns and Siniscalchi families for coming out to serve others; they are truly
role models for our students.
I am blessed to be a part of the Island Trees Community,
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