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Hurricane Sandy Resources and Information

By Barbara Morgan, Director of the Public Information Office

The effects of Hurricane Sandy have been felt by everyone across the state, and as we continue to recover, we at the Department of Education hope to be able to provide you with information and resources on how we can support one another during this time of need.  

For families impacted by the storm, we know it will be a long road to recovery and we want to ensure you have the assistance you need along the way.

For families experiencing displacement, any displaced student that qualifies as homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Act is automatically eligible for the free meals program. The Department of Agriculture sent this memo to all school district and charter school leaders to provide additional details as well as other valuable information about food availability and nutrition during this difficult time.
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence." The following are examples of situations that would meet this definition:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Children and youth whose primary night time residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

Students have the right to continue in the school they attended prior to the storm and districts have been instructed to work with families to make accommodations for them to stay in their home school or the school in the district they are currently residing based upon the best interest of the student and family. This includes arranging for any transportation needed.

If your family meets any of these definitions due to effects of the hurricane, please reach out to your school district for any assistance. If you still need additional help, you can contact the department at
609-292-2070, between the hours of 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

A wide variety of other organizations are working in our communities to help in relief efforts across the state and can provide additional assistance to those in need:

Even if your family did not personally bear the effects of the storm, we are all feeling the impact on our neighbors, families, communities, and fellow New Jerseyans, and many people are looking for ways to contribute or get involved in recovery efforts.
 
For those wishing to make monetary donations, the Governor and First Lady established the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. The fund will provide a critical mechanism to collect monetary donations to provide assistance to families and businesses who have been affected by the destruction of the storm. Please visit www.sandynjrelieffund.org to donate today.

Volunteers are needed to help sort donations, clear debris, serve meals and many other tasks. The Governor's office has set up a volunteer line for people to call to find a need that matches their skill set. You can contact the Hurricane Sandy Volunteer Hotline via calling 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397) or emailing volunteer@gov.state.nj.us.

DonorsChoose.org is a non-profit that invites teachers, principals and school staff from across the country to request materials they need in their classrooms and schools. From pencils and paper, to microscopes for a biology class, to field trips to art museums, they have delivered $156 million in supplies to schools across the country. DonorsChoose.org has dedicated a special section of their website for schools that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy here: www.donorschoose.org/sandy. Teachers and schools can submit projects they need funded and any donations will go directly towards fulfilling these.

The New Jersey School Boards Association has set up a matching program between districts and organizations that are willing to adopt a district, school or classroom that is recovering from the storm. If your district or school is in need of assistance or if you would like to adopt a school, please contact the NJSBA at 1-888-88NJSBA, Ext. 5209 and they will connect you with a matching school or district. More information can be found on their website at: www.njsba.org/news/hurricane-sandy.

The National PTA® has established a special grant program to assist those schools and PTAs impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The grant program will award a minimum of $500 and up to $5,000 in $500 increments to PTAs in areas affected by the storm to help them repair storm damage to school libraries and playgrounds, purchase new books and supplies, and much more. PTAs are able to apply for more than one grant if they have multiple needs. More information on how to apply for funds and on how to contribute can be found here: http://pta.org/5399.htm.

Modest Needs Foundation is a registered non-profit that promotes the self-sufficiency of low-income workers by helping them to afford short-term, emergency expenses. Modest Needs Foundation's Hurricane Relief Program offers immediate monetary aid to low-income workers who do not qualify for conventional types of emergency assistance, but who have lost income or incurred unexpected household expenses as a result of this unprecedented natural disaster. Hurricane Relief Grant Program will help low-income workers impacted by the storm to afford one month's rent or mortgage payment as they work to get back 'on their feet,' up to a maximum of $1,500.00 per household. More information on how to apply for funds and on how to contribute can be found here:  www.modestneeds.org.