Hollis School Donates More Than $1,000 to NY Family Battered by Hurricane Sandy
As part of the Braintree school's annual coin drive, students and teachers put aside money for a Long Island family who lost their home.
Hurricane Sandy left Braintree relatively unscathed a few weeks ago, but hammered cities and towns elsewhere, leaving a path of destruction throughout the tri-state area.
One family on Long Island was hit particularly hard. They lost their home at the same time the father was out of work with cancer. While many in their community also struggle with Sandy's aftermath, this family lacks the kind of support network helping most to recover.
But soon, likely by Thanksgiving, the family will receive a check for more than $1,000, a boost just in time for the holidays from students and staff at Hollis Elementary School.
Every year students at the school raise money through a coin drive called Penny Power, with some days singled out as Penny Power Plus days. Normally, students raise a few hundred dollars on those days. Last Wednesday, they raised a little more than $1,000, money that the students chose to set aside for hurricane relief.
"The kids definitely stepped up," said Barbara Donovan, a teacher at Hollis. "[The family] didn't have a lot of support coming in."
Donovan is from New York, and has relatives on Long Island. A decade ago, she helped connect Hollis with public safety workers in New York following the tragedy of Sept. 11.
This year, after students decided they wanted to help after Sandy barreled through, Donovan called her sister, who reached out to a local school principal. Donovan declined to name the family, saying that she preferred to maintain their privacy for now. She plans to deliver the check herself when she visits her family over Thanksgiving break.
"The storm completely destroyed their home," Donovan told those gathered for the school's Thanksgiving feast last week. "They can't even go back and see their house because their house is not there."
The $1,000 raised by students last week is being supplemented by staff donations, and could reach $1,300 or even $1,500, Principal Tim MacDonald said.
It will go toward helping the family replace things that we take for granted, Donovan told the students gathered in the cafeteria. "Once again, you've done Hollis proud."