High and dry, Belhaven comes to the aid of Atlantic City

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From left, Chelsea Height School sixth-graders Roman Frances and Beau Nolan, Belhaven Middle School math teacher Katie Ulmer, Belhaven eighth-graders Carter Kelly and Shannon Murphy, and Chelsea Heights sixth-graders Estrella Roman and Gizelle Loper and her little brother, Angel, load cars with cleaning supplies. Photo by Suzanne Marino

ATLANTIC CITY – The Chelsea Heights School in Atlantic City is a polling location, and when residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy flooding headed off to vote Tuesday morning, they found a welcome surprise: tables loaded with cleaning supplies for the ongoing storm cleanup.

Belhaven Middle School students Carter Kelly and Shannon Murphy, along with a group of Chelsea Heights sixth-graders, unloaded several cars piled high with bleach, sponges, paper towels, trash bags, Swiffers, mops and disinfectant to help folks get their homes in order.

“We took $500 that we raised through the Penny Wars that we were planning to use on our Renaissance project, but this is where we needed to put the money, to help our neighbors,” Belhaven Principal Frank Rudnesky said.

He said he reached out to Linwood Board of Education member Richard Sless, a sixth-grade teacher at the ChelseaHeightsSchool, to help him direct the project to distribute the cleaning supplies.

Atlantic City resident P.J. Dollard stopped by the tables after voting Tuesday and expressed his gratitude for the aid.

“I had 19 inches of water in my living room. Everything that got wet is ruined, and we have mold,” said Dollard. “This is such a huge help to me, and I really appreciate it. Honestly, I think we all appreciate how people are pitching in and helping where they can.”

He thanked each of the people there individually before he headed back to his Elberon Avenue home with his son, Zach Abrams, to clean some more.

Many other voters exited the building with paper towels and other items tucked under their arms, and smiles on their faces.


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