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By Josh Peterson, editor
When Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast in late October, millions were left without electricity and some were only left with the clothes on their backs.
Many were left without basic toiletries that many take for granted on a daily basis – including nearly 600 students and teachers at Pineland Regional High School. That’s where the Coffee County Central High School Interact Club comes into play.
With many homes damaged from flooding and storm surge, many students at the high school in Orange County, N.J. are in dire need of help.
“We got a call about three weeks ago from a club friend who knows [CHS club sponsor Megan Benton],” said CHS Interact Club historian Hayley Farless, a senior at the high school.
“They just don’t have enough supplies there and that’s what we need to collect here.”
Items on the donation list include toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, and packaged socks, underwear and t-shirts. So far, Farless said, donations have not been pouring in as quickly as she would like.
“Right now, if I had a guess, we probably have about 50 [tubes of toothpaste],” she explained. “That’s nowhere near enough. We have had a lot of trouble getting the word out and getting participation.”
Interact Club, a subsidiary of the Manchester Rotary Club, often takes on projects and uses money raised to help local charities and organizations. But this may be the biggest project the club has taken on during Farless’ tenure.
“Last December we did a Christmas party for the Manchester Head Start and collected about 250 toys for them. But this project is way bigger.
“We sold poinsettias as a fundraiser and we will use some of that money to buy supplies that aren’t donated.”
Recently, students from the storm-ravaged area sent a picture to the CHS Interact Club showing their appreciation for the help. That picture moved Farless.
“It was really awesome, just really awesome to see that picture,” said Farless. “It really puts faces to this [disaster]. You don’t always get to help like this a lot and we are glad to do it.”
CHS principal John Bush is proud of his students who embark on these projects.
“I’m really proud of our young people taking the initiative to help people who are suffering,” said Bush. “This is a student-led effort. Our students met some of these kids at a convention this summer and they wanted to help them. I’m really proud of their social awareness and compassion for other people who are going through difficult times.”
Anyone who wants to make donations can do so at Central High School through Nov. 30, which is the cutoff date. The high school is located at 100 Red Raider Dr. off of McArthur St. For more information, contact the school at 931-723-5159.