Atlantic Cape Community College nursing student Adrianna Robinson, 22, managed to save a couple of her textbooks from Hurricane Sandy only because they were in her car.
Everything else, including her laptop, were ruined when Hurricane Sandy flooded her family’s Ocean City apartment. She, her husband and two children are now living in a motel, and she goes to the public library to use the computers for her schoolwork.
“It’s been a little difficult,” she said. “Some of the professors are giving us extra time to finish work, but I want to get it done.”
Robinson is one of about 80 students who have already been approved to receive small grants from a special foundation set up to help students pay for books and materials lost in the storm. Robinson will get $150, which she said will pay for a couple of her expensive nursing textbooks.
So far 350 applications have been received for assistance, Atlantic Cape spokeswoman Kathleen Corbalis said. The Sandy Relief Fund for Atlantic Cape Students has raised almost $20,000 so far. The goal is to provide every eligible student with a grant of up to $200.
The college Student Government Association voted last week to allocate $10,000 of its budget for the relief fund, reallocating emergency, contingency and operating funds.
Bryan Dufresne, of Woodbine, SGA president, said they made the donation because they believe it is Student Government’s mission to help students.
“We feel this is the best way to help our peers who lost so much during the storm," he said.
Dufresne and SGA leaders also called on others to follow their example.
"As leaders of the student community, we are calling on other leaders in the community to help with the Sandy Relief Fund in any way they can,” Dufresne said. “Every little bit counts."
More than 25 percent of Atlantic Cape's 7,500 students lived on barrier islands at the time Sandy struck, and many lost everything in the storm, college officials said. In the aid applications, students report losing their books and laptops when they quickly evacuated in advance of the hurricane and of returning home to find their dwellings in low-lying areas uninhabitable. They have had trouble getting to school because their cars were destroyed by tidal flooding and they can't afford bus transportation. In many cases, they lost income because their hours were eliminated or cut back in the local hospitality industry, itself suffering from the aftereffects of the storm.
Ashley Biscardi, of Atlantic City, was taking courses online and lost her computer. She said she has gotten another computer to use, and since this is her last semester before graduation, she is determined to finish.
“It’s been a mess,” she said of having her house and car flooded.
Eric Gibbs, of Atlantic City, said the whole front of his house is gone,and the $150 he is receiving will help him replace books to continue his education.
“I’m going to the library to work there for now,” he said. “I will finish.”
"These applications are heartbreaking," said Dean Patricia Gentile, executive director of the foundation. "Students have suffered tremendous losses, and we're working to ensure that they don't also lose their dream of a college education."
Contributions to the Sandy Fund can be made online by visiting atlantic.edu/relief. Checks can also be made out to the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation and sent to to: the Sandy Relief Fund for Atlantic Cape Students, Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation, Cape May County Campus, 341 Court House-South Dennis Road, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210-1972
For more information, contact Gentile at 609-463-4507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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