A state away from his home in Inwood, college student Joe Kenny decided to help out his storm-hit community.
Learning about the condition of the Five Towns through family and friends on Facebook, Kenny went out and solicited donations from his fellow students as well as teachers on the campus of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. With the help of his Delta Chi brothers, the 21 year old ended up collecting $675, which he donated to the Five Towns Community Center the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
“To see that happen in my hometown, that actually made me realize that they need help,” said the 2009 Lawrence High School graduate, who added that he’s seen his friends in Atlantic Beach and Meadowmere Park impacted by the storm. “I saw so many houses that were empty and unlivable. The families can’t go back.”
Kenny met with his fraternity brothers a few weeks ago, and the group hit the school’s cafeteria where they set up a table and a board asking for donations.
The Five Towns Community Center, which has acted as a shelter in the aftermath of the storm, will use the funds to help replace residents’ tools that were lost, according to Felipe Plaza, who works at the center. The funds will also help out the Meadowmere Fire Department.
"Our alumni seem to have such a connection to the community that they are all pitching in, like Joe, to help," said Roseanne Epp, assistant principal of LHS, who also has helped coordinate relief efforts. "A lot of times the College Greek Organizations get a bad rap, it's nice to know that these college students with limited funds thought it important to help out in Joe's hometown. That monetary donation will go a long way."
(Epp added that the LHS class of 1972 has converted funds from their recent reunion into gift cards and passed them along to all the school buildings in the district to be distributed to those in need. The effort was organized by Fran Capobianco Galante.)