Indialantic Elementary adopts Northeastern school to help with relief efforts
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD -- More than a month after "Superstorm Sandy" pounded the Northeast, the devastation from the hurricane still lingers in some of the hardest-hit areas.
Of those is Monmouth Beach, a beachside borough in New Jersey that is much like any of the oceanfront communities on the Space Coast.
With that in mind, Indialantic Elementary School "adopted" Monmouth Beach School, which serves 323 students from pre-K to eighth grade, in an effort to provide the students and teachers with some much-needed relief. The school was flooded with four feet of water, resulting in the loss of just about everything: classroom items, libraries of books, personal items of the students and more.
Dianne Jones, a guidance counselor at Indialantic Elementary School, said teachers at the school have shared heartbreaking stories of the devastation to their beachside community and school.
"Their school is closed for repair, and many of the families are living in shelters," Ms. Jones said. "Hundreds of children have lost everything from their homes and school."
Although nearly seven weeks have passed since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, about 12,500 households need disaster housing statewide.
Surrounding schools of Monmouth Beach have made room for the displaced students and teachers, while Monmouth Beach School undergoes repairs, although there is not yet a foreseeable date of reopening.
"A fifth-grade teacher there told me that everything below the four-foot flood mark was trashed," Ms. Jones said. "The electrical (wiring) was fried. All the teachers' and kids' stuff is gone."
To help meet the needs of the children, Indialantic Elementary School will fill a truck with donations and send it to the students of Monmouth Beach School.
"We are raising money and collecting items to restock their classrooms with story books, puzzles, games and gift cards for their teachers, as well as clothes and toys for the children who lost everything," Ms. Jones said. "Donations are beginning to pour in, but we have a long way to go before we can fill the truck that's coming on Dec. 18."
Ms. Jones said the children of Monmouth Beach will not be the only ones affected by this effort.
"This project teaches our students at Indialantic Elementary School to pay it forward," she said. "During the holiday season, it is so easy for children to get caught up in an attitude of 'getting.' By reaching out to other children who are having a tough time, our students are learning lessons about compassion, empathy and the power of kindness. Both schools plan to videotape their students loading and unloading the donations, and then share the videos with each other. This will allow our kids to truly understand the impact of their actions: children helping other children."
Anyone who would like to help the sister school can drop off new warm hats, gloves, sweaters, small blankets, toys and games, as well as books, classroom supplies and gift cards to the main office at Indialantic Elementary School, at 1050 North Palm Ave., by Dec. 17. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information, call (321) 723-2811.