The ongoing donation efforts by South Brunswick volunteers and the school district is continuing to send aid to the badly damaged Memorial School in Union Beach.
Operation Books and Coins recently wrapped up in the South Brunswick School District, with a total of $5,322 and 4,500 books, including 25 boxes of books donated by Stirling Publications, for Union Beach.
Constable Elementary School's student population donated over 30 cases of books, while Brunswick Acres Elementary School donated $1,897. The Pie-a-Teacher event at Crossroads North brought in $725, which combined with the coin collection for a donation of $1,147.
"When we stopped in at Cambridge, they advised us that a container of pennies was donated by a student whose grandparents home in Union Beach was destroyed," said organizer Lisa Rodgers. "However, the penny container survived and was found in the basement. The family chose to bring it to Cambridge so that it could be part of the donation."
Rodgers added that when the volunteers were at TD Bank, people in line saw that the coins were for The Memorial School and started tossing more coins into the buckets.
South Brunswick began its outreach efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims shortly after the storm. Rodgers, co-owner of Central Jersey Catering, along with LocalChatbox.com owner Suzanne O’Rourke, teamed up in November for a collection drive at the Family Karate Super Center on Ridge Road. Over the course of two and a half days, over 150 volunteers of all ages showed up to help collect, categorize, pack and label 900 boxes worth of supplies donated by the South Brunswick community.
The two then The drive collected over 3,000 books for The Memorial School. The drive was aided by GSK Masonary owner Anthony Socio and Al Nardi, who provided a large box truck to deliver the books.
"Talking to locals that have lost their home brought tears to our eyes," O’Rourke said last month. "We personally handed a few books to a 5-year-old boy, whose mom held back the tears and was so grateful for our small gesture."
Rodgers praised all the South Brunswick principals, teachers, staff, students and parents, as well as the custodians who helped load the cars with books and coins.
"The Superintendent of Union Beach, Mr. Joseph Annibale, met with us and could not believe the amount that was raised," she said. "He advised that at their Board meeting yesterday evening, he will announce the donation and he asked that we thank everyone in South Brunswick on behalf of the parents and students of The Memorial School."
If anyone would like to continue to donate, they can forward a check payable to "Rebuild Memorial School," Attn: Union Beach Board of Education, 1207 Florence Ave. Union Beach, NJ 07735