Students pitch in for huge relief effort

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3 – High school senior Marissa Caminos hands canned goods to Middle Township High School graduate Michaela Fiorucci. 3 – High school senior Marissa Caminos hands canned goods to Middle Township High School graduate Michaela Fiorucci.

NORTH WILDWOOD – As a group of Middle Township High School students entered the second floor of the North Wildwood firehouse Friday morning, they were in awe.

Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing were piled high on tables, and food and other supplies were also available to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Canned goods and other supplies were also scattered near a fire truck on the firehouse’s first floor.

High school senior Katie Risko was among students who helped sort clothes and canned goods Friday at the North Wildwood Fire Department firehouse. The students are members of the National Honor Society and the Interact Club, which is Rotary International's service club community service organization.

Before Risko decided to volunteer, it didn’t dawn on her that things were this bad.

“I just feel good about organizing it all,” she said. “It’s just so much stuff it’s crazy.”

She said it’s great that people responded quickly to help those in need.

Risko of Cape May Court House said she also plans on pitching in with other hurricane relief projects, including hands-on work through The Lighthouse Church of Middle Township, she said.

Emily Repici of Cape May Court House also helped at the firehouse last week, but it wasn’t her first hurricane relief effort.

The high school senior said she and a few friends walked to homes in Cape May Court House collecting canned goods instead of candy during Halloween, celebrated Nov. 5 in Middle Township.

Those donations were to be given to Hurricane Sandy victims, and efforts were through the First United Methodist Church in Cape May Court House, she said.

Repici planned on helping with the Shore Fellowship Church in Ocean City last weekend.

Marissa Caminos of Rio Grande said she was astounded when looking at the amount of donated items and how people are thinking of others instead of themselves.

The high school senior was taking clothes out of a black garbage bag and putting them on top of piles Friday morning.

Caminos said she wants to get involved in other Sandy relief activities.

Emily Champion of Cape May Court House said it’s vital for people to give back.

The high school senior said she also went trick-or-treating around Cape May Court House on Nov. 5 seeking canned goods for Sandy victims.

And she learned a lesson this week: That people are very giving.

Champion said she intends on doing a beach project, she thinks at Stone Harbor and Avalon, as part of the high school’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science class.

“I’m just so proud of the school,” said Rita Tice, high school English supervisor.

So is Michaela Fiorucci of Cape May Court House, who helped sort clothes and canned goods at the firehouse.

“It makes me so proud of them,” she said of seeing Middle’s high school students lending a hand.

Looking at the amount of donations also gets to her, she said as she was putting canned goods in a box.

“It’s just heartfelt. I love it,” she said.

Fiorucci is a sophomore at Atlantic Cape Community College, where is she studying biology. She graduated from Middle Township High School in 2011.

She said her home in Middle Township did not suffer damage.

“We were really lucky, thankfully,” Fiorucci said.

Students did not just lend a hand on Friday. They also brought items, including canned goods and clothing, to the North Wildwood firehouse.

The Lunch with Lynch community outreach program helped donation drive at the firehouse.

At least 50 students wanted to volunteer in North Wildwood but there were a limited number of students who could be at the building, Tice said.

Hurricane Sandy relief efforts aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

“We know this is gong to be an ongoing need,” Tice said.

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