When Hurricane Sandy hit our area local schools like Howell and Farmingdale had to deal with issues like clearing debris to make sure the buildings were ready to be used.
The two districts were closed for extended periods of time but other districts like the Lavallette School were not so lucky. With that in mind the Farmingdale Student Council got the school together to help the Lavallette students after they were forced to relocate to a church in Toms River.
Rebecca Sneed and Kristeena Batesko are two of the advisors for the Farmingdale students and said they were happy to help out another small school in need. That effort included collecting school supplies and gift cards that were then delivered to the Toms River temporary location. "We thought it would be nice," Sneed said. "Our Student Council likes to do projects, fundraisers and things for other schools."
Batesko said one of the teachers at the Farmingdale School works with a teacher in Lavallette which helped bring the two schools together for this supply drive. By the time the drive was they had five boxes of supplies to deliver and a handful of gift cards so they could by more supplies. A teacher in the district also donated a number of chapter books that the other K-8 district could use for the older students.
Sneed said when they contacted the Lavallette School about donating the supplies they were very well received. "They gave us a big thank you for bringing them the items."
The Farmingdale School also got an assist from the Howell Fire Bureau who donated some items as well. Inspector Brian Prochnow, whose fiance is a teacher at the school, said his group was happy to help and also get their message out. The Bureau donated items from their fire prevention supply helping them accomplish two goals. "We were helping them out with school supplies but also doing fire prevention abroad," he said.
Even in their time of need Batesko said the people receiving the items said if they got more than they needed they would send the surplus to another needed district like Union Beach.
The Farmingdale student group is made up of close to 30 members and Sneed said they got the entire school interested in helping out. "We've done different fundraisers," she said. During the disaster in Haiti she said they did a "Penny for Patients," event and have done others through the years. "It depends year to year what comes up and what they're interested in."
She also said being a district with only 160 students it is important for them to help them expand their world beyond the borough. "We wanted to make sure they knew that they were without power for a week but there are kids that don't have a school to go back to or a home to go back to."
Much like Farmingdale Lavallette is a tight knit community and Batesko said it was important to them to to all stay together rathen than split up into different buildings. "They wanted to keep their kids in the same location to have the kids from Lavallette go to the same location to keep their small family," she said. "I know some of the other schools along the shore that have moved into schools and they still have their schools but are also involved in a different school."