11/19/2012 Jason Klinger

F&M Community Rallies Around Victims of Hurricane Sandy

  • Community members interested in donating to Franklin & Marshall College's Hurricane Sandy relief drive may drop off clothing, non-perishable foods and basic household items in these two shopping carts in Steinman College Center. (Photo by Tim Brixius '00)

The Franklin & Marshall College community is coming to the aid of people in areas decimated by Hurricane Sandy.

While it has been three weeks since the storm slammed into the Northeast coastline, causing more than 130 deaths in United States and tens of billions of dollars in property damage, the recovery is far from over for those in hard-hit states such as New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The F&M chapter of Hillel, headed by Associate Dean of the College Ralph Taber, launched a relief effort Nov. 14 and is urging community members to donate bedding, clothing, nonperishable food, and basic household and personal care items -- such as laundry soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and toilet paper -- to victims of the storm. Donors are asked to drop off items in one of two shopping carts in F&M's Steinman College Center. Collections are being accepted through Dec. 16.

"It's part of our DNA to help," said Taber, director of the College's Klehr Center for Jewish Life. "And many of us in the College community are from New Jersey and New York. We have family there and know people affected by this tragedy."

Taber said Hillel students also are collecting cash donations -- they are still deciding which relief organization they want to fund -- and are in the early stages of planning a spring break volunteer trip to the East Coast. They are partnering with F&M's Catastrophic Relief Alliance (CRA), a group of students, faculty and professional staff who travel to disaster-stricken areas of the United States to assist in community rebuilding efforts.

In addition to Hillel and CRA, the College's Alice Drum Women's Center, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Ware Institute for Civic Engagement are joining the relief effort, Taber said.

Faculty and professional staff also had an opportunity to support hurricane relief during the College's annual United Way of Lancaster County fundraising drive that closed Nov. 9. Each year, the College raises upward of $26,000 for the United Way. 

The Philadelphia Alumni Writers House is chipping in, too, collecting donations at its events throughout November. "Loose change, dollar bills, a check, whatever you can spare," said Kerry Sherin-Wright, director of the Writers House and adjunct assistant professor of English at F&M. "At month's end, we'll send what we've collected to the Red Cross to support its ongoing efforts."

The Writers House has two events remaining in November: A reading with fiction writer Mohan Sikka at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, and an all-day reading of Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost" beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30,

To stay up to date on the relief effort, visit F&M's hurricane relief website.

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