BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Brookdale Elementary School, through its Brookdale Home and School Association, has adopted a Texas school that had been damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The president of the association is Jennifer Guidea.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 and remained over Houston for four days, dropping more than 4 feet of rain. Guidea said she became aware of the opportunity to adopt a school through Facebook.
In an interview earlier this week, Guidea said she made contact with a woman who was matching schools for adoption.
Brookdale adopted Hardin Junior High School, located in Hardin, Texas.
“My understanding is that the school is unusable,” Guidea said. “Children are in shelters and going to schools in neighboring towns or church facilities.”
The association was asked to collect no textbooks, but rather basic school supplies, underwear, hygiene products and gift cards.
“Used clothing doesn’t normally include underwear,” she said.
The collection drive began the first day of school when emails and fliers went out.
“We’ve had a good response,” she said. “A shopping cart has been filled two times.”
Gift cards are being stored in the school safe. Reading books have been donated by a Brookdale parent who works for a publishing company. The drive is expected to end Oct. 6.
Guidea said there was some thought to generating donations through a competition between classes but this idea was dropped because it did not seem right for the circumstances.
“We had a good response,” she said. “It’s fresh in everyone’s mind.”
The hurricane season has been a topic for Brookdale students. With two terrible storms happening one right after the other, Harvey in Texas and Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, a comparison between them is being studied as a “science in the news” topic, according to Principal Lauren Barton.
Guidea said Brookdale ShopRite, and a Staples and Target store, in Clifton, have been contacted for donations. The association was told to return once their drive is completed and there is a better idea of what more is needed.
The donations are expected to head west in mid-October. One Brookdale parent, who owns and operates a semi-tractor trailer is expected to haul the goods to Hardin.
“My contact is an administrator, the director of operations,” Guidea said. “He said not to send anything yet. They’re getting themselves together.”
Giudea is hoping to connect Brookdale and Hardin through Skype so that the students will have the opportunity to see each other. She said it is important for Brookdale students to see the good they have done.