We received this email from Mary Ann of the Randolph Education Association:
I must begin by saying thank you to everyone for your hard work and efforts with the Manasquan partnership. I apologize that I did not follow-up sooner; however, we are continuing to receive donations! As of today, the Randolph community has collected and donated 500 toys and countless letters, cards, and craft items. In addition, we delivered $12,800 in gift cards to Manasquan on Friday and will be sending (via Fedex) an additional $1,700 in gift cards today (total gift cards collected $14,590!).
Our trip to Manasquan on Friday, 12/14 was a roller coaster of emotions. Thank you to Dee, Margaret, and Frank for joining me on our road trip to deliver all of the items that were collected. The students, staff, and BOE members from Manasquan were wonderful. They cried and were so appreciative of all that we did. We received many hugs and words of thanks. It was such a humbling experience. We had lunch with the BOE president and District business administrator and were given a tour of Manasquan. Seeing the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was shocking. I have seen many photos and news coverage on TV but to see the devastation in person is unlike anything I could have imagined. They shared the statistic that 60% of the homes in Manasquan were affected in some way, 270 were condemned, and hundreds are uninhabitable. Families are separated and living with friends as they work to rebuild their lives. One thing that affected me most was that their “Squan Pride” is as strong as our “Randolph Pride!”
The Randolph Community was recognized and thanked at an assembly that was held at Manasquan High School. We were fortunate in that our trip happened to be the same day as their annual “Life is Good” assembly. The students were very kind. We brought Randolph hats, headbands, t-shirts, etc. and had students throw them into the audience. The student council from the elementary school (elementary is K-8) will be wrapping the toy donations and helping to distribute them to students. The guidance counselor at the high school said she was looking forward to calling students to her office for a good reason for a change as she distributed gift cards.
Each of our community groups contributed so much to the initiative. I would like to share a few highlights:
The RMS & RHS communities collected $3,000+ each in gift cards and wrote many letters to students. The Fernbrook students and staff donated countless cards, gift cards and toys. The toys were wrapped in wrapping paper that was handmade from Fernbrook students (so great!). The Center Grove toy collection and Holiday cheer letters were so touching (a few letters made me cry!). Ironia and Shongum collected countless toys and earned $1,100 at their bake sales. The Randolph Community Center collected 200+ toys (including many Lego sets that will make many kids happy!). The Randolph Scout Troops did a wonderful job with letters, friendship bracelets, and craft projects. VPAC collected $240 in gift cards from the first of the holiday concerts and has two more concerts to go! The PTOs, REA, RTAA, RAM RAC, and REF did a wonderful job sharing information and letting community members know where to bring their donations. Communication is always the first step and you did an amazing job in spreading the word.
I will be sharing all of the information with District Communications Director, Jon (he is copied on this email). I feel that it is very important that we share the information with our community . . . what a wonderful example of the holiday spirit! I will also write a letter of thanks to the community and send it to the Randolph Reporter.
“Thank you” does not seem to be enough for all that you did to support this partnership. In the midst of this wonderful initiative combined with the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT., I am more appreciative, than ever before, of my family and the extraordinary community in which we live.
Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association