As Millburn recovered from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the leaders of the Millburn school community, including Dr. James Crisfield, Superintendent of Schools, the presidents of the PTOs, the PTO Conference Outreach Committee and the Education Foundation, felt it was important to reach out to help another New Jersey school district that was hit hard by the storm. They created “Millburn Gives Back,” a long-term effort to partner with the school district and community of Sayreville, NJ. Families of more than 100 students in Sayreville lost their homes and most of their possessions, and many of them are displaced and living with other families, or in temporary quarters such as hotels or shelters.
The first step in this effort has been a gift card collection during the month of December. “Millburn Gives Back” asked Millburn school families to donate Target gift cards for the Sayreville families so they may put them toward their most immediate needs.
On Friday, December 21, the PTO Conference Presidents, Ana DeMeo and Lisa Dolan, PTO Outreach Committee Chairs Ann Marie Petrocelli (and Jennifer Barry, not pictured) presented donations of gift cards totaling more than $30,000 to Dr. James Crisfield, who will hand-deliver them to Sayreville Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Frank Alfano, for distribution to the families.
Dr. Crisfield said, “I thank our Millburn community members for their incredible generosity. This will go a long way toward helping these families who were hit so hard by the storm. But, perhaps more importantly, this is just the first step in a long-term, student-centered partnership with the Sayreville schools so that students there can interact, collaborate and become friends with students here in Millburn. We are making plans now to implement some creative and long-lasting learning opportunities for students in both districts beginning in the new year.”
Ana DeMeo, Co-President of the Millburn-Short Hills Conference of Parents and Teachers notes, “Even as our Millburn families were trying to get their own lives back to normal, they, as always, have exceeded our expectations with their donations to Millburn Gives Back. I especially want to thank the PTO Outreach Committee chairs, Ann Marie Petrocellli and Jennifer Barry and their committee members who facilitated this effort at each of our schools. “
Lisa Dolan, PTO Conference Co-President adds, “The heartfelt cards and messages created by our Millburn students give these gifts a personal touch for the families in Sayreville. "As this partnership continues, we know we can count on our community to be there.”
A recent NJ Spotlight article sheds light on how Hurricane Sandy impacted the town of Sayreville: