When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast last fall, homes and buildings in Far Rockaway, NY arguably received the most damage. In an already poor community, months after the hurricane blew through the town, some residents are still without power.
But this week, 3 and 4-year-olds who attend the city’s Bays Water School will receive a small token of hope.
Misty Maruska, a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Plymouth Middle School, packaged and sent 45 handmade blankets to Bays Water School pre-kindergarten students. Maruska’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders spent the last few months sewing the blankets in an effort to give back to a community that has so little.
“I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this donation,” Maruska said. “And the kids are excited, too.”
For Maruska, planning the donation began last November. “The hurricane was so awful, it was constantly on the news,” Maruska said. “I knew that those people needed help.”
Traditionally, sixth grade students at Plymouth Middle School sew pillows each year. This year, seventh and eighth grade students were going to sew pillow cases as part of their lesson in sewing. But in lieu of making something for themselves, students agreed to give back to other kids in need.
“I didn’t make my classes do this,” Maruska said. “I had the discussion with them, and let them decide.”
After showing her students a presentation about the devastation the hurricane left behind, the children agreed to begin sewing blankets. Maruska said that new sewing machines purchased by the school’s parent organization helped make the project feasible.
Through the New York City Department of Education, Maruska’s classes were matched with Bays Water School. Since the blankets are small, the school’s principal thought they would best suit the youngest children.
“The principal told me in December that there were some homes in the area still without heat,” Maruska said. “So for those children, having something to call their own will help.”
The Bays Water School hurricane relief coordinator will send photos of the students receiving the blankets in coming weeks, which will allow the students in Plymouth to see first-hand the impact that their gifts will have.
“I think these kinds of projects are so good for the community,” Maruska said. “Especially with so much recent tragedy.”
Other Hurricane Sandy coverage on Golden Valley Patch:
- Honeywell Assists Hurricane Sandy Victims
- Red Cross Responding to Hurricane Sandy Across Multiple States
- How You Can Help Those Braving Sandy’s Storm on the East Coast: Twin Cities Give Back