The U-11 Atlantic United Girls Soccer team, the Asteroids, intended to raise money for team expenses when they booked a coin drop at the Shop Rite in Absecon, said team mom Carla Block Ropiecki, of Port Republic.
But after Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29, the 16 girls on the travel team voted to collect for victims of Sandy rather than keep it for themselves, she said. The girls, who live in Galloway Township, Absecon, Egg Harbor Township and other Atlantic County towns, raised more than $1,700 and donated it to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch.
"The parents are all on board with that," Block Ropiecki said. "It's such a blessing to see the girls want to give so selflessly."
Anthony Gitto, of Margate, 17, started his own surfing-themed nonprofit organization, Waves For Hope, this summer in memory of his uncle, Michael Lorenzi, of Ship Bottom. Lorenzi taught English at Southern Reigonal High School in Stafford Township for 35 years, and died of cancer in 2008, Gitto said.
"(We) set out to raise money for children diagnosed with cancer and supporting the animals of the local Humane Society," Gitto said, since his uncle loved working with kids and helping animals.
But after Sandy, Gitto, decided to donate half of the $1,200 raised from selling Waves For Hope T-shirts to the Atlantic County Humane Society, for storm-related costs; and half to the American Red Cross, for Sandy relief, he said.
Gitto, a senior at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, said fundraising in 2013 will again focus on children with cancer and the general work of the Humane Society.
Some efforts started right after the storm hit are now complete.
The Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund for Atlantic Cape Students, run by the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation, has wrapped up its business after providing approximately $37,000 to 425 students who lost books, computers, wages, transportation or clothing in the storm, said spokesperson Kathleen J. Corbalis. Donations came from individuals; groups such as the Mustard Seed of Cape May County, which gave $1,500; other community colleges; the Atlantic Cape's Student Government Association, which gave $10,000; and the Atlantic Cape Foundation.
Others are one-time shots in the arm. The Salvation Army said Burlington County based Burlington Coat Factory donated $50,000 in gift cards and home wares for New Jersey storm victims.
Galloway resident Brian Deviney, Jr., 12, was so concerned after the hurricane, he asked to skip his own holiday gifts and collect items for kids affected by Sandy. He donated about 50 filled stockings and a bag of larger gifts to the Women's Center in Linwood, said his dad, Brian Deviney, Sr., who said he also surprised his son with some gifts for himself.
Fran Mack, of Cape May, and her 11-year-old bulldog Allie, raised $500 for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from Halloween through the holidays, to help animals afffected by Sandy, she said. They started soliciting donations at the Mays Landing Halloween Parade, and continued until they hit their goal, said Mack, a school bus driver in Egg Harbor Township. She and Allie, a therapy dog who regularly visits Oceana Nursing Home in Cape May Court House, will present the check to the SPCA board of trustees in New Brunswick this month, she said.
Some help came from out of state.
The Spartans of St. Mark's High School in Wilmington, Del., raised $5,000 for the Spartans of Holy Spirit High School affected by Hurricane Sandy. They presented their gift Dec. 18 in the High School Chapel, said Holy Spirit spokeswoman Sue Werner.
The Kiwanis Club of Petersburg, Va. raised $885 for the Child Federation of Atlantic County, to provide clothing and other relief to children who suffered as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It was presented at a special meeting of the Atlantic City Kiwanis Club on Dec. 4.
Businesses and professional groups have also done their part.
The Atlantic County Bar Association (ACBA) hosted three fundraisers in December for hurricane relief and underpriviledged children. A criminal law seminar attracted more than 60 lawyers and raised more than $2,000; the Young Lawyers Divison collected items for Sandy victims; and the annual Children's Holiday Party, held at the Atlantic County Civil Courts building, provided gifts for underprivileged children, a spokesperson said.
On Dec. 20, Atlantic City Palm Restaurant General Manager Paul Sandler and his elves delivered 350 Gifts to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, for distribution to families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Sandler had encouraged patrons who dined at The Atlantic City Palm Restaurant to bring in a wrapped gift, in exchange for $15 off their check of $100 or more.
Lexus of Atlantic City donated $5000 to the American Red Cross Southern New Jersey Chapter in December, for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The funds were raised from sales revenue during November.
Savor for Sandy, held at Table 31 in the Comcast Center on December 16, raised more than $50,000 for Caesars Entertainment employees affected by the storm.
And Atlantic City's Cooper Levenson law firm loaded a Jitney with 1,000 school uniform shirts and delivered them to the Atlantic City School Superintendents Office in December, as part of its "Life After Sandy" disaster relief efforts.
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