The Farmingdale School District is stepping up to help local hospitals with badly-needed medical supplies. With schools closed and students learning remotely, administrators, teachers, and students mobilized to take an inventory of what they could donate to those working on the frontline.
“It started with an email thread to share ideas of how we could help health care workers, and the ideas just kept coming in,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini.
Lead nurse Dawn Esposito, RN, who oversees the school district’s fourteen nurses, was tasked with finding a point person to shepherd the donations. “I know how scary things are on the front line,” said Ms. Esposito. “We really wanted our donations to help local hospitals, like St. Joseph’s, Good Samaritan, and Mercy Hospital— the places who take care of the kids in our community.”
She contacted Jim Spencer from Catholic Health Services, who today, arrived at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School to pick up the donations in the parking lot, where they had been collected in the back of Superintendent Defendini’s truck. Mr. Defendini and Ms. Esposito were on site to greet Mr. Spencer, all the while keeping social distancing protocols in place.
Farmingdale Schools Science Director Dr. Kristen Cummings gave an inventory of the items that she and the science teachers gathered from the labs at the middle school and the high school: 14 boxes of small and medium exam gloves, 101 clear goggles, 152 colored goggles, 33 safety glasses, and a UV goggle cabinet that decontaminates them after use. “We gathered up any supplies that we knew wouldn’t be needed for the rest of the calendar year,” said Ms. Cummings.
Also included were 500 hundred masks, donated by a friend of Albany Avenue Assistant Principal Victoria LoRusso. “When my friend in Vermont heard about our supply drive, she made the masks and shipped them down to us so we could distribute them locally,” said Ms. LoRusso.
The Farmingdale Interact Club (a club that promotes community service and charitable donations) donated the balance of their club funds—six hundred dollars— to the district wide effort. “They decided the money should go to buying meals for the healthcare workers at St. Joseph’s Hospital in appreciation of all of their hard work,” said Club Advisor Sue McDonough. “I’m so proud of their generosity.”
In an email to Ms. Esposito this afternoon, Mr. Spencer thanked the district, writing, “We are very thankful for the donation. The health care workers will be touched by the thoughtfulness of you and the students. We will make sure the funds go to feeding the health care workers, many who are working 12-hour shifts.”
“This is all part of Dalers helping Dalers,” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. “It was an honor to deliver these donations to Mr. Spencer today, and we will continue to do all we can to help our community get through this difficult time.”