ELLSWORTH, Maine — Students at Ellsworth Elementary Middle School gathered Friday morning to send 37 boxes of school supplies, clothes and toys to children affected by superstorm Sandy.
The relief drive, which took place throughout Regional School Unit 24, was organized by Monica Czerniawski, an ed tech at the Ellsworth primary school. Since the second week in November, students have been dropping goods in boxes outside their classrooms.
“You’re giving the victims all kinds of things to keep warm, keep safe, and even make sure they have Christmas presents,” she told the hundreds of students gathered Friday morning.
Todd Nadeau, executive director of the Pine Tree Chapter of American Red Cross, was on hand to accept the donations. He said that in the immediate aftermath of the storm, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged well-meaning citizens to send money, not aid items.
Now that New York and New Jersey are in the second and third wave of relief efforts, Nadeau said, there’s a need for items such as those collected in Ellsworth. That way, cash donations can be used for physical rebuilding efforts — repairing destroyed homes and schools, for example.
“People can absolutely feel good about contributing to these kinds of efforts,” Nadeau said.
Jordyn Bray, 11, was one of the four students helping Nadeau load up a Red Cross SUV with the donations, which will head to Bangor before being distributed throughout the mid-Atlantic. She said it was hard to describe how good it felt to help, especially during the holiday season.
“All the people in New York and New Jersey are going to love it when they get something,” she said.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.