By Tess Wallenstein
“The first floor of both my house and my dad’s house were flooded with five feet of water before the storm even hit,” says Kacey Reynolds, a freshman from Brigantine, N.J. “That was just a precursor of what was to come.”
More than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, Reynolds and millions of people throughout the northeastern United States and the Caribbean are still feeling the storm’s wrath, which left at least 123 people dead, countless homes damaged or destroyed and millions without power.
While the University sustained little to no damage from Sandy, students have rallied behind victims of the hurricane in both the Wildcat community and along the Eastern seaboard.
“The backyard fence was blown away, but nothing major,” freshman Kira Schlobohm says. “I know many people who were not as lucky as I was.”
While Schlobohm’s home in Beachwood, N.J. , experienced minimal damage during the storm, she was compelled to act after seeing pictures of the devastation at the Jersey Shore, a place that holds many fond childhood memories for her.
After coming up with several designs related to the beach, Schlobohm decided to print them on T-shirts.
The final product, a light blue T-shirt with a starfish design on the front that reads, “Save Our Shore” in black lettering and an outline of New Jersey on the back that says, “Taking Back Our Home: One Beach at a Time,” is being printed locally and sold for $12 apiece.
All proceeds from the sale of her shirts will go directly to the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
In an effort to get the entire campus involved with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Crystal Christian, the head resident assistant of Alumni Hall, has begun a school-wide effort to raise money to send to the Red Cross, which has specified that monetary donations are the most efficient way to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Every R.A. on campus is asking their residents to make whatever donation they can and we will compile all funds into one donation for the Red Cross,” Christian says.
The deadline for these donations has been extended until tomorrow, Nov. 16.
However, for much of New Jersey and New York in particular, the rebuilding and healing process has just begun.
For Reynolds and her family, there is still much to do in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“My dad’s restaurant was not so lucky. The entire restaurant is destroyed, and it will be months before everything is fixed and we are ready to open again,” says Reynolds, who is quick to note that these material things can be replaced and her family was lucky to remain safe throughout the storm.
Reynolds has been donating food and clothing to her town’s community center—items which have directly helped many of her neighbors and close family friends who lost their homes during the storm.
She also volunteered at a local homeless shelter last weekend that has been hosting many families displaced by the hurricane.
“Every little bit helps,” Reynolds says. “It would be great to see other students on campus helping those that were affected by the storm.”