Students change charity drive to help Sandy survivors

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WILDWOOD — If this were a typical Thanksgiving, students on this island would be doing a turkey drive or perhaps donating food to a local charity.
This year, Hurricane Sandy changed how some families would be able to celebrate.


A few of those people are fellow students, some locals and others from communities harder hit by the storm, said Kimberley Sorensen, who along with Teal Robinson is helping to organize a special Thanksgiving dinner for the school community.
Sorensen said the Seasiders, a Wildwood High School service club, and students at Wildwood Catholic High School wanted to do something different after the storm battered New Jersey.  
After the storm hit, about 150 people were relocated to local hotels approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Currently, six students are attending the Wildwood school district because their homes or schools or both suffered too much damage.
“A lot of people don’t have a place to cook the turkey that we used to donate. Some of the people displaced by the storm are living in motels,” Sorensen said.
“Our school community just got larger with the displaced students.”
She said the two schools came together to prepare and serve a Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21 at the Bayview Inn in Wildwood Crest. Sorensen said they expected about 200 people.
The Seasiders and other school groups are brainstorming on what they can do to help local families during Christmas, Sorensen said. But plans are often changing as the needs of the displaced families change.
“Three definitely is a possibility to do something like this again for Christmas, but right now there is no firm plan. The residents [impacted by Sandy] don’t have long term plans. They are going week to week,” she said.


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