MU Donates to Union Beach in Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

University students from Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the education honors society, and the International Reading Association (IRA) collaborated to raise money and collect school items to donate to the Union Beach Memorial School (UBMS) on February 7. The school, which includes students from pre-school to eighth grade, was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

The University students held a bake sale to raise money for the school and asked University faculty and students for donations this past January. “Over 16 different MU departments donated school supplies,” Mary Brennan, KDP Counselor and Specialist Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership said. “Countless staff, students and faculty of MU contributed supplies. The members of KDP held a bake sale in the front hall of McAllan Hall for seven days and raised over $1000.”

Brennan was the head of the operation. She reached out to the UBMS and she contacted University faculty and students, United Way, the Methodist Church and a Girl Scout troop to ask for assistance. Each organization was able to contribute items for the school.

The UBMS has been improving over the past few months but is still in need of supplies. “Currently, our school is still being cleaned and fixed due to the Hurricane,” said Nicole Conforti, Reading Specialist at the UBMS.

“We lost everything from desks, chairs, computers, books, pencils, etc. We have some issues when it rains or snows because the roof is badly damaged but we do the best we can,” Conforti continued.

The KDP and IRA raised money and collected items throughout January and the first week of February. With the money that the students received from the bake sale, they were able to buy the remaining items from the UBMS wish list that were not donated.

Brennan explained that there were over 50 boxes of school supplies that included marble notebooks, paper, bulletin board paper and borders, colored copy paper, index cards, videos, erasers, markers, glue sticks, 120 dictionaries, 102 thesauruses, 35 Texas Instrument calculators, lined paper for kindergarteners, chapter books, recreational reading books for teachers and staff, National Geographic videos, Disney videos, six teacher chairs, a microwave, five bookcases, a mini-refrigerator, boxes of Clorox wipes and baby wipes, folders, masking tape, art supplies, monthly calendars, and buckets full of cleaning supplies for each classroom teacher.

The University facilities management loaded the trucks and transported the items to UBMS. At the school, the KDP and IRA students waited to unload the truck and deliver the items to the students and staff that Thursday, February 7.

Brennan describes the UBMS students and staff as, “Overwhelmed, to the point of almost tears…grateful, impressed with the students from MU.”

“Our teachers, students and staff were very appreciative,” said Conforti. “The drive was tremendously helpful for the teachers at Union Beach.”

The University students were able to help out a good cause and set a good example for the UBMS students. “We invited the gifted and talented students to come down and help with the donations,” said Conforti. “They connected with the MU honors society to which they saw how volunteering your time, hard work and community connections can make a difference.”

“Between the amount of donations we were able to get for Union beach, and the amount of money raised from a simple bake sale, I was shocked,” Sam McGhee, senior elementary education major and member of KDP said. “I’m thankful for the success that we had, along with having the opportunity to be a part of this event.”

“Monmouth really does have a great group of students who are willing to go above and beyond to help in times of need,” McGhee continued.

“The University students organized it, baked and staffed the table, reminded each other of their responsibilities, packed the boxes, carried the boxes, and they went to the store with the bake sale money to buy the items from the wish list,” said Brennan. “They soared high in true MU fashion. It was my pleasure as their advisor to work with them. I was very proud of their initiative and desire to give to others in need.”

If interested in making donations to the Union Beach Memorial School, students can contact Nicole Conforti at nconforti@unionbeachschool.org.

“Caring people who are willing to create events like this are the ones who will help make a difference in people’s lives and the world as a whole,” said McGhee. “Having the opportunity to be a part of something so meaningful was not only a choice, but also an honor.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Mary Brennan