NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - In an effort to assist Americans in need following several devastating natural disasters, families in New Rochelle raised thousands of dollars and collected essential goods to ship south to those affected by recent events.
Over the weekend, students, parents and teachers from Columbus Elementary brought food and supplies for victims of the earthquake in Mexico and storms in the Caribbean.
Columbus Elementary School Principal Michael Galland said that the school agreed to serve as a collection site for donations following a request from the Fundacion Manos de Esperanza, a New Rochelle charity. Galland said that when the school community was told about the partnership with the charity, families began bringing their own donations to help the relief effort.
More than 50 volunteers teamed to collect canned goods, blankets, water bottles, underwear and other supplies for babies and toddlers. More than $4,000 was also raised during the donation drive.
“Beyond the good that will come from the donated items, it was very moving to be part of, and to witness, such an outpouring of support from the school community," Galland stated. "The strong connection our school community and neighborhood have with Mexico was palpable. They really felt driven and obligated.”
According to Galland, Columbus Elementary social worker Caryn DaLoia was instrumental in coordinating the effort, and two security officers, Maria Rizzo of Columbus and Joe Rondinelli of New Rochelle High School, worked all day carrying boxes and bags and greeting all those who came in with supplies. Head custodian George Mills and day custodian Lenny Sweeting worked all day to clean, cart supplies and assist volunteers.
The Fundacion has arranged for local residents to deliver the supplies to Pubela and Morelos, two cities outside Mexico City, and to Puerto Rico.
“It was an unbelievable scene, Board of Education President Rachel Relkin said when she came to drop off donations. “I could not believe how much of an outpouring we saw from the community. I want to commend the organizers for that.”
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