By Carly Kilroy
Thanks to the RAINE Foundation's school supplies party held this week, some local Toms River students whose families lost everything in Hurricane Sandy wont
have to worry about buying school supplies this year as they rebuild their lives.
That's because the foundation is providing all necessary supplies need to start off the school year to students free of charge.
“We were contacted by some community organizers in the area saying that Toms River needed some help. So we said we were on board. There are about 7,000 kids that they are expecting to need school supplies, 3,500 are special needs,” RAINE president Mike Fabozzi said.
At the event, held at the People's Pantry off of Fischer Blvd, each child was supplied with a book bag and told to fill it with the supplies they needed depending on the grade they are going into.
“We gathered all of the school lists from teachers and grades and filled them,” Fabozzi said.
Once they were done “shopping” families were encouraged to stay, play games, and eat pizza with the volunteers.
That morning, the RAINE foundation also dropped off school supplies to Hugh J. Boyd Elementary school in Seaside Heights for at least 150 students in need.
Fabozzi said teachers will sort through all of the supplies and hand them out to students on the first day of school.
The RAINE Foundation, which stands for Reaching All In Need Everyday, is a Hazlet, NJ based organization founded in 2001.
“Our mission is [helping] families and children in crisis,” Fabozzi said.
The foundation started out by doing case work handed to them by surrounding school districts and has since expanded to helping families dealing with any type of crisis.
They have even traveled out of state when disasters such as the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and the tornadoes in Oklahoma struck.
“We really try to expand anywhere we can,” Fabozzi said.
When Hurricane Sandy hit, Fabozzi says the foundation took a lead roll in recovery and assistance efforts.
“Since Hurricane Sandy we have probably tripled in size,” Fabozzi said.
The foundation is completely volunteer and donation based.
“We don't ask questions, we just say, 'what do you need' and we
get it done,” Fabozzi said.