Unlike most other schools in the city, The School at Columbia University opened its doors on Thursday and Friday. A great majority of our community made it in for both days; I heard stories of people carpooling over 2.5 hours to get to school on time. Others biked in and needed to wait until the sun was up as many streets still had non-functioning traffic lights. There were teachers and students among us who were evacuated: some still are not in their own homes almost a week later, some are “camping” without electricity or hot water, and some are facing irreparable loss and heartbreaking/expensive repairs.
However, it is amazing how communities rally. Teachers invited colleagues to sleep over, commute together, clean up parks, and gather supplies to be donated. Lisbeth Uribe, science teacher extraordinaire, organized a relief effort over email yesterday. This morning, she and her son filled her car to the brim with items gathered from us: blankets, coats, boots, clothing, bedding, toiletries, toys, diapers, household utensils, bottled water and beverages, dry and canned food, and brownies. They drove to Rockaway, Queens where the items were sorted and dispatched to shelters. Here is a snippet of Lisbeth’s email to the community after returning from the trip:
The volunteers at the distribution center in Rockaway were so grateful and asked that if we make a return trip to please bring more water and cold medicine. The car ride to Rockaway was quick and easy. We passed many incredibly long lines of cars waiting for gas. I still have 3/4 of a tank of gas and would be happy to make another trip if we gather more donation items. They can also use volunteers to help with unloading cars, sorting items and then reloading the items onto Red Cross vehicles that take things to the shelters.
For more information about how we can help victims of the Hurricane, please go to the following links:
Eve Becker (8th Grade English) called to invite me to Rockaway with her on Sunday (tomorrow), and we’ll be delivering, sorting, and dispersing mountains of supplies. Joining us will be Belinda Nicholson, Middle Division Head.
*** My photos from the trip are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/specialkrb/sets/72157631935174207/