Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Chicago-Based Charity Donates Goods To Sandy-Impacted SI Schools

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TWC News: Chicago-Based Charity Donates Goods To Sandy-Impacted SI Schools
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Pencils, notebooks, folders, along with other school supplies and winter coats. They're all part of a shipment of donated goods from Chicago to Staten Island schools affected by Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

It's a mission to get help get kids affected by Hurricane Sandy back to normal, and it takes some thought.

"What I typically try to do is find out what the needs are on the ground, instead of just saying, 'Here's an amount of money, throw it against the wall and see where it lands,'" said Dick Flesher of Schools Count Corp. "We don't do that."

But what Flesher's not-for-profit, Schools Count Corp., does do is make sure children affected by natural disasters get the supplies they need to get back into their everyday lives.

The not-for-profit began in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina, and on Thursday, the Chicago-based charity made its way to Staten Island, dropping off supplies at the Michael J. Petrides Complex at the New York City Department of Education's district headquarters.

"People within this office know families of need," Flesher said. "That's why I was so attracted to here. They told me they would find families who are still displaced, kids without things. That sealed the deal."

About a dozen schools in the district's 55 kindergarten through eighth grade schools are in neighborhoods badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Donated supplies will be distributed there over the next two weeks.

The donations are allowing officials at Petrides to continue the outreach they've been doing since Hurricane Sandy hit.

Right after the storm, the school became a shelter for displaced residents. Then, the school morphed into a distribution center for donated supplies, with staffers at the kindergarten through 12th-grade school rallying to help collect needed items like clothes and toiletries. They even organized a so-called "store" for parents to "shop" for their children around the holidays.

"An outpouring that I've never seen before," said Erminia Claudio, community superintendent in District 31. "So in the face of all this horror, something wonderful happened. People came together."

And people are continuing to come together. The school is expecting more donations next week, this time from Florida.

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