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BHS Desperately Needs Help for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Brookfield HS asks community and businesses to provide donations to Staten Island victims of Hurricane Sandy. "Stuff a Bus" this Friday, Nov. 30 from 8am until 1:30pm. Please read entire story.

November 29, 2012

Brookfield, CT--It has been exactly a month today since Hurricane Sandy slammed the coastline of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.  Yet as of today, there are over 12,000 people in Staten Island who still do not have electricity and many do not have heat in their homes.   Some families are living in tents and some are living in the second floors of their homes, since their first floors were flooded and ruined, yet the owners are afraid to leave their property because it might be looted by thieves.  The weather is getting colder each day and there seems to be no immediate remedy in sight.

In response to this, the Brookfield High School Peer Counselors, under the leadership of Angela Haselwood, one of the Peer Counselor co-advisors who is also one of two BHS School nurses, started a relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island New York.   The Peer Counselors have now been joined by students and faculty advisors from other high school clubs such as the National Honor Society, the Key Club, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and FIRST Robotics Team 1099 to name a few.  

Brookfield High School is now reaching out to members of the community and businesses to bring items from the list below to “Stuff the Bus”   They are asking people from Brookfield and surrounding towns to bring some of these items to the bus that will be parked in front of the main entrance to Brookfield HS (45 Long Meadow Hill Road) this Friday, Nov. 30 between 8am and 1:30pm.   Also, people can drop off donations at the Brookfield Town Hall, Room 129 (100 Pocono Road) between 8am and 2pm Friday, Nov. 30 only.  At 1:30pm the bus will leave the high school and it will go to the Brookfield Town Hall to pick up the donations that were left there as well as the donations that were left earlier at the Brookfield Police Station.

The All Star Transportation Company, which provides the buses that are used for transporting the students from their homes to the schools and back, has generously donated one of their school bus drivers and a school bus for both this Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1st.   On Friday, the bus will be stuffed with donations.   Then, on  Saturday, one of All Star Transportation Company’s drivers will take the bus that has been stuffed with the donations and volunteers made up of students and adults to spend the day in Staten Island, New York.   The purpose of the trip will be to help the hurricane victims by giving them the donations and
distributing prepared meals to them.

BHS DESPERATELY NEEDS YOUR HELP!

The following items are urgently needed:

Bedding: (Pillows, sleeping bags, blankets, sheets, air mattresses)

Warm Clothing: Clean jackets, coats, gloves, heavy socks, winter boots,
etc.

Cleaning supplies:(anything to help clean floors, walls, sinks, etc—soaps and cleaning products, buckets, mops, paper towels, and sponges)

Toiletries: (soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, combs, hair brushes, hand towels, wash cloths, deodorant, shampoo, body wash, diapers, toilet paper, rubber gloves, etc.)

Food
Non-perishable food—does not need to be frozen or refrigerated such as
canned goods or things sold in bags that do not need to be refrigerated.  Bottled water and can openers.

Items for pets: 
Dog or cat food

Misc.candles, matches, lighters, flashlights, batteries (all sizes), battery operated lanterns, etc.

Outdoor items: Shovels, rakes, etc.

For more information, please contact Brookfield HS 203-775-7725

Angela Haselwood at ext. 7788 or Sue Troupe at ext. 7746

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Suzen Pettit November 30, 2012 at 06:44 PM
ughh...i wish we knew about this yesterday!!
Susan Troupe November 30, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Sorry, I was not aware that there no one had publized this until yesterday and that is why I wrote the article. We are leaving Saturday, Dec. 1st from BHS parking lot at 6:30 am, if you have any last minute things, but I really want to thank the community for coming out and providing us with so many donations. I plan to write a follow up piece when we return.
Susan Troupe November 30, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Good news, we received so many contributions, that we had to rent a UHaul for the additional things. However, I just spoke with our Principal, Joe Palumbo, and he said anyone who wants to make a donation between now and before 6:30am this Sat., Dec. 1st, they can leave it under the overhang right in front of the main entrance to the school. I also want to thank our principal, Joe Palumbo for not only supporting this project but for volunteering to drive the UHaul down with the bus to Staten Island tomorrow. If we get more donations than fit into the UHaul, we will have other people load their personal cars with the items and drive down. Thank you again to all the people who responded and brought items from their homes today, it was very touching and moving.
Jaimie Cura (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Susan, what great news! I'll send out a note on Facebook too, letting folks know what Joe said.
Loretta Donovan December 01, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Glad we can drop things off tonight. We'll drop off a carton of donations.
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 I am limited to the size of posts. So I will submit in increments: Part I This past Saturday, Dec. 1st between 6:15-6:30am eighteen Brookfield High School (BHS) students and a number of adults made up of faculty and staff from BHS and Huckleberry Hill Elementary School as well as from Brookfield’s Town School Office gathered in the parking lot of Brookfield HS. By 6:50am, a school bus loaded up with donations from the students, faculty and the community that filled the back of the bus to the first five rows of seats was ready to leave. The donations included: clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, food, bottled water, pet food and cleaning products. We had so many donations that the overflow filled up a large rental truck, which was driven by the BHS Principal Palumbo. BHS School nurse, Angela Haselwood, drove her car for other four other adult volunteers, who could not fit on the bus. We were all on a mission to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, NY. Without stopping except for traffic and tolls we arrived at our final destination at 10:30 am. The little over 100 mile school bus ride through New Jersey to Staten Island took 3 1/2 hours.
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Part 2 When we first arrived on Midland Avenue, I asked myself, we are we stopping here? The houses look intact, but after getting off the bus, one of the organizers, Tony Hall, took us through a commercial building and showed us that the water had been almost to the top of the door and how they had to gut everything from the building. To understand better what people were dealing with I found a couple of video clips from YouTube that show what people were facing when the water was in that neighborhood. These photos and videos do not show when the water was at its highest, it shows when the water was draining away. One resident told us that at one time a wave of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean that was 35 feet high came through his neighborhood and pushed other peoples things into his and everyone else’s’ homes. The water had a mix of sewage, oil from home heating, and other toxic chemicals all mixed in. Below is a link of a video with an interview with a resident that lives in the Midland Avenue area, a mile inland from the beach. She explains what happened during the first 24 hours of the storm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8-SAMoNUo0&feature=youtu.be
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Part 3 Here is a video that was filmed on the 2nd and 3rd day as the water drained away. A resident from Midland Avenue went out to find his home as the waters were receding showing on Oct. 30-31st. He put at the end of his video that it took two days until he could get into his home and he lost everything that was in his home. He said, “God bless those who lost loved ones.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-0JFRWIhIs The day that we were there, marked the 32nd day that over 12,000 families were still without electricity and heat. I learned that all electricity and gas was turned off five hours before the storm hit, on Monday, October 29. The flooding affected virtually every structure: homes, stores, schools within a mile inland. Owners of these buildings have had to gut the first floor to just the studs and are ripping out the sheet rock, the insulation, the old wiring and even the floorboards. The salt water mixed with toxins ruined everything. Not only all the material goods inside the homes, but the walls, floors, etc.
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Part 4 We spoke with one resident who told us that he has removed 17- 30 yard dumpsters of material from his home. The owners are not allowed to have electricity and gas restored until they get their home up to code. Many families are working their jobs and then working on their cold home on the weekends. Some didn’t have second floors, so they had to find shelters or other people’s homes to live in until their home is up to code to in order to be able to reconnect the all of their utilities. We saw everyone working in the buildings wearing respirators to avoid inhaling all of the bad toxins in the air including mold that is now growing on the walls and floors. We also learned about a program that was developed on 9/11 called www.groundzerofood.org. During 2011, Tony Hall, was a caterer based in Rhode Island. When Tony saw the devastation to the New York residents from 9/11 he started organizing clean food and water for the NYC residents. He then quit his job and formed and non-profit organization called, Ground Zero Food, which on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was renamed by Tony to “Small Town America Responds (STAR)”.
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Part 5 Tony also helped out the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and now you can find him as the main organizer of STAR on the corner of Midland Avenue and Moreland Street in Staten Island, NY. Below is a web link that provides more information about the organization, Ground Zero Food and a bio about Tony, http://www.groundzerofood.org/hall-bio.htm Also, I am including a link to Cambridge Catering which is a partner with STAR (cambrigecares.org) http://www.cambridgecatering.com/cc_star.html. The idea is to provide hot healthy meals to the victims of disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. To get an idea of what it used to look like, the link below provides a photo of what that corner of Midland Avenue and Moreland Street looked like before the storm, plus it has a map that you can zoom out to see how far away they were from the beach and still received so much water damage. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=midland+avenue+and+Moreland+Street,+Staten+Island&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x89c24ecb226156d9:0x46f9cf98b3136513,Midland+Ave+%26+Moreland+St,+Staten+Island,+NY+10306&gl=us&ei=0Me8UISAJsSq0AH-g4HADw&ved=0CDIQ8gEwAA
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Part 6 You can see photos of what the relief program on Midland Avenue looks like now on the STAR Facebook page plus photos of Tony Hall and other volunteers: http://www.facebook.com/StarSmallTownAmericaResponds#!/media/set/?set=a.402613849808398.83427.399925536743896&type=3 Tony and a group of volunteers have set up a tent and are cooking hot meals for the residents. The BHS students and adult volunteers took the hot meals to distribute to the families and community volunteers who are still working on taking debris out of the homes. It seems that more natural disasters are happening throughout our country and will continue happening in the future. Knowledge of how to organize a local community when a disaster strikes is very important. Mrs. Haselwood and I are planning on sharing what we learned to improve the disaster plan for the Brookfield Community. We are planning another trip, but have not set a date yet. We will keep you updated on the situation as it develops. It seems that the need for clothing is ok for right now, but they still need cases of water bottles, canned goods, pet food, and so on. I learned a lot of how they handle donations on a large scale and will share that with the next post.
Susan Troupe December 03, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Part 7 Thank you to the students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members who helped to bring donations to Brookfield HS, the Brookfield Police Department and the Brookfield Town Hall and to all those who went with us to help the Hurricane Sandy victims. I will report more as I get feedback from the students and the adults on what they experienced. You can look forward to reading more stories, seeing photos and names of people who participated to follow. In the meantime, I send my support to the people who are rebuilding their lives and still trying to reclaim their homes over a month after the storm.

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