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September 18, 2014

Northeastern students organize storm relief

A pier along the Atlantic coast lies in ruins after Hurricane Sandy hit the region.
Photo Courtesy/Creative Commons/US Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region

By Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta, News Correspondent

Though Boston was largely spared by Hurricane Sandy, a number of Northeastern students with roots in the mid-Atlantic region are working hard to help people in areas severely damaged by the storm.

The hurricane ravaged the eastern seaboard of the United States at the end of October. Sandy caused destruction up the coast from North Carolina to Maine, with much of the damage centered in New York and New Jersey. Because the region rarely experiences tropical storms, wind and tidal surges damaged thousands of unsuspecting homes and businesses. Downed trees and power lines left some within the tri-state area without power, heat or gas for weeks, and a number are still in distress.

Like many Northeastern students from the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, senior international affairs and human services major Frank Marino was experiencing the storm second-hand. Going to school in Boston but hailing from New Jersey left him alienated from his home and in the dark about the condition of his house or community. Called to action, he created the Facebook group Huskies Restore the Shore (NJ + NY + CT Sandy Relief).

“There is a strong representation of Northeastern students affected by Hurricane Sandy and I wanted to create a forum where we can support each other and keep each other updated about what’s going on at home, and hopefully develop some long term plan so that we could get involved in the relief and recovery effort that’s happening at home,” Marino said. “I know for me it was pretty tough to watch all the devastation going on and hearing about it from friends and family and being stuck here feeling helpless and wanting to do something. I think that a lot of students were expressing the same type of feeling.”

With more than a hundred members, the Facebook group has become a place to share information about donations and to empathize with other students about the storm. Many students may not have endured major damage to their homes, but to some it was the loss of emotional landmarks that was most upsetting.

Marino recalled the destruction of the Jersey Shore: “Even just looking at the beach towns I used to go to ever since I was growing up. Seeing the boardwalk completely gone. Just these memories that I have, and not knowing if they’re going to be there when I go back. Because right now it feels kind of surreal.”

Using the Facebook group, Marino was able to get in contact with fellow activists, and New Jersey natives, senior architecture major Joe Skrocki and former student Zack McAuley. Working with the Northeastern Center of Community Service, Skrocki and McAuley have organized a clothing and supply drive to help their home community of Ocean County, N.J.

In a statement released by the Center of Community Service, McAuley and Skrocki said, “Our families, friends, and neighbors are all in desperate need of help. Many are still without power, heat, or gas. The barrier island, where many of our friends call home, is uninhabitable for the next 6-8 months. The Jersey Shore of our childhood has been washed away. … We are looking to the Northeastern community for a helping hand.”

If you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the supply drive is ongoing until Nov. 20. Donations are being collected at the Center of Community Service at 172 Curry Student Center or 212 Columbus Place, and at the LGBTQA Resource Center at 328 Curry Student Center. Bring items like clothing (preferably winter coats, hats and gloves), blankets and gift cards to stores such as Lowes, Home Depot and Marshall’s. For those who prefer monetary donations, text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or go to RedCross.org for donations of any amount. If your student group would like to participate in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, call the Northeastern Campus Activities Office at 617-373-2642. For a complete list of non-profits for Sandy relief go to northeastern.edu/studentlife/sandy/.

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