by Laura Streaman
The Westfield community gave $23,000 worth of monetary donations and supplies to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Bay Head, according to Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan. Bay Head was deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy.
WHS alone raised $5,000 in gift cards, $600 in monetary donations and a car full of cleaning supplies as well as three boxes of new toys to give to seven families, according to English Teacher Mr. Warren Hynes.
According to Hynes, the Westfield community first tried to help the town of Union Beach, but was told they already had too many donations.
Science Teacher Ms. Sara Soriente found St. Paul’s church, which was feeding 500–600 meals per day to individuals, and decided to collect goods with her class. Soriente then informed Hynes of the opportunity to help at St. Paul’s and from there, Hynes informed the school community.
Soriente’s class and Science Teacher Mr. Josh Garodnick’s class raised $2,000 together in gift cards.
According to Hynes, there were three ways to give immediate help: supporting families who needed holiday gifts, donating cleaning supplies, as well as volunteering and donating money to the church feeding program.
The district decided on a gift card drive because “they wanted to give the parents the respect of being the ones to buy [their children’s gifts],” said Hynes.
“Since Sandy struck, we have seen more than a dozen different humanitarian efforts undertaken by the Westfield School community. It is so very heartening [to see this].”
She added, “An important part of our district’s mission is to prepare students ‘to become productive, well-balanced and responsible citizens.’ Certainly, the Sandy relief efforts are another demonstration of the success of this mission,” said Dolan.