Romero sells sweets to support Sandy sufferers

Romero sells sweets to support Sandy sufferers

Junior Karly Horn writes candy grams for students that donated school supplies. The donated items are going to Uganda and hurricane Sandy victims.

Kailey Tracy, Copy Chief

Plastic bags full of toddler’s sweatpants and mom jeans fill sophomore Annie Lerch’s view as she gazes around her garage. Lerch and her family prepared to fill a U-Haul truck with the donations, bringing the clothes to her old town near the devastated Jersey Shore.

Lerch moved from Toms River, New Jersey, last year to Fallston.

Although she lived on the mainland and there was not much damage to her old home from Hurricane Sandy, Lerch’s friends suffered much worse. “One of my mom’s friends who she worked with, her home was completely washed away. All she has left is what she put in her car,” Lerch said.

Another family friend packed up her car and family to escape the rising waters, but was overtaken by a flood. They crawled out of their car’s windows, only to swim to different neighbors’ homes. “She couldn’t get in touch with her husband because the cell towers were down,” Lerch said.

For a period of time following the hurricane, the high school she would’ve attended functioned as a shelter, along with another area school.

After watching the images on TV of the storm-ravaged town she was once a part of, she said it was “kind of nerve wracking. I remember playing at [my friends’] houses, and now they’re gone,” Lerch said.

Lerch’s family began gathering donations shortly after the disaster, starting with her family’s old clothes. Her mom then took the drive to her old town to donate the clothes, and has since made two other trips with donations stemming from neighbors, friends, and her sister’s soccer team.

The donations have gone to a group created by women in her old neighborhood after the hurricane, Community Outreach Relief Effort (CORE). According to Lerch, people in the community tell CORE what they need, and the group gathers it for them.

The family is also giving the donations to “little relief groups who are helping people directly,” Lerch said. Lerch and her family are delivering the supplies to four schools in and bordering Lerch’s old town.

The Romero Club is teaming up with Lerch, gathering school supplies for neighboring schools in the affected area. Collaborating with the Culture Shock Club, who is collecting supplies for orphans in Uganda, the Romero Club used the incentive of candy grams to entice students to donate.

For every one supply students brought in or for 50 cents, they received a small candy cane. If students brought in five school supplies or $1.00, they received a big candy cane, and if they brought in 10 school supplies or $2.00, they received a singing candy gram.

According to Lerch, gathering donations and giving back to her old neighborhood makes her feel like “I’m a part of up there still and [that] they’re still my family.”

Kailey Tracy is Copy Chief for The Patriot and