November 26, 2012
By JOHN T. WARD
One month to the day after it was inundated by the Swimming River in Hurricane Sandy, the Red Bank Primary School reopened Monday morning.
The event was accompanied by the arrival of a truckload of school supplies donated by residents of Clarkston, Michigan.
Flood waters swamped the low-lying school on October 29, causing extensive damage that had a crew installing new carpeting as recently as Saturday, said school Superintendent Laura Morana.
Work still remains to be done to replace flooring in the gym and media center, she said.
In the interim, the school’s 575 students were bused to the middle school, where teachers and students shared a split schedule.
Morana said that in the interval, she was contacted by Krystal Matthews Bergman, a former New Jersey resident now living in Michigan, who asked how she and her neighbors might help the school get back on its feet.
After a fundraising drive that included a dozen schools, pencil cases packed with crayons, erasers and other supplies were purchased and shipped east, along with books and a check for $1,000.
“We’re just delighted that they did that,” Morana said, adding that the money will also be used to buy instructional supplies.
The haul arrived just as students were settling in, delivered by Greg Martin, executive director of Disaster Relief at Work, a nonprofit that provides needed supplies after natural catastrophes.
The first class to get the goodie boxes were the kindergartners, one of whom asked Martin, “If we have money, we can buy them?”
“No, it’s free,” Martin told the kids. “We’re giving it to you.”
Martin was heading to Brick Township and Rockaway Beach to deliver more hurricane relief supplies today before heading back to Michigan.