One day after President Barack Obama toured Staten Island, a New York borough devastated by Superstorm Sandy, elementary school students in a Pennsylvania township loaded up a U-HAUL truck with donations.
Students at Lower Nazareth Elementary School -- with special help from the school's Present Young Leaders Of Nazareth (PYLON) Club -- quickly pitched in when a teacher put out a call for donations.
Barbara Koegler, a kindergarten teacher at the school, was the driving force behind the donation campaign. Before a recent trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a baptism, Koegler's daughter, Katherine, was moved by photos published online of Sandy's devastation.
More specifically, the Koegler family wanted to help Staten Island, often called the forgotten borough.
Eighteen days after Sandy made landfall, according to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama traveled along mud-lined streets and past homes that were ripped apart.
"There's still a lot of cleanup to do. People still need emergency help. They still need heat. They still need power. They still need food. They still need shelter," the Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying. "So there's a lot of short-term immediate stuff that has to be dealt with, and we are going to make sure that we stay here as long as people need that immediate help."
The Koegler family and a convoy of three cars traveled to Staten Island with donations, according to Paul Koegler, Barbara's husband. But Barbara Koegler felt more could be done, and she enlisted the help of her elementary school students.
A flyer was delivered to Lower Nazareth Elementary School parents on Wednesday, Nov. 7. All of the donations seen in the photos to the right of this story were collected by Monday, Nov. 12.
And each grade had a donation focus:
- Kindergarten -- Baby Products (diapers, wipes, formula, baby foods, cereal, bottles, etc.)
- 1st Grade -- Water and Non-Perishable Food (canned goods - flip-top, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, juice, etc.)
- 2nd Grade -- Cleaning Supplies and Flashlights (Lysol, mops, brooms, buckets, sponges, laundry detergent, etc.)
- 3rd Grade -- Toiletries (toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, etc.)
In addition, all grade levels were encouraged to donate new or gently used blankets, coats, hats and gloves.
Monetary donations were also accepted, but as Paul Koegler noted, "[The community doesn't] want to just give money. This makes them feel like they are doing something specific."
Paul Koegler made the two-hour trip to Staten Island Friday afternoon with his daughter as the co-pilot.
Barbara Koegler was sick and unable to make the trip.
The Rotary Club of Nazareth co-sponsored a donation drive for Hoboken, N.J., area residents affected by Sandy from Nov. 9-16 at all six Nazareth Area School District schools.
Assisting the local Rotary Club were students involved with Interact Clubs -- Rotary International's service club for young people ages 12 to 18 -- at Nazareth Area High School and Nazareth Area Intermediate School.
For more infromation on the Lower Nazareth Elementary School PYLON Club, check out the PDF to the right of this article.