I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all of our supporters who reached out to us after Hurricane Sandy. Your heartfelt concern for the safety of our children and offers for help were amazing and greatly appreciated. I'd like to give you a brief report on how we fared during and after the storm
YCS residences, schools and administrative offices in the northern sector of the state felt the impact of Sandy with extended power outages.
Approximately 60 children from Davis House, Grace Hall Shelter, Muller Hall, Laurie Haven, Lawn Ridge, New Brunswick and Sayre House had to evacuate when the power in their areas went out. The children were sheltered at the Holley Center, the Kilbarchan Campus and two Sawtelle Homes in Paterson.
Our emergency crew worked overtime to make sure that all the children's clothing and bedding were delivered to each site. They picked up staff who were stranded in their homes and dropped them off at the residences. They also drove to PA and south Jersey to fill up containers with gas to refuel YCS vehicles and obtain the diesel fuel needed to keep our generators running
Staff echoed over and over again how uplifting it was to see everyone working together. It was clear that the safety of each and every child was the foremost concern of all the staff. The calmness and tenderness they showed in a time of crisis was mirrored by the children in the way they treated each other.
One supervisor told me that while it was exhausting making sure that everyone's individual needs were met, it was also exhilarating to watch all the children rise to the occasion and genuinely care about each other.
I was especially moved by two workers who continued to serve one Sawtelle in-home family. This single mom of three has a little boy with complex and extremely challenging disabilities. They knew that the storm would exacerbate this mom's very difficult situation. One aide, who lives more than an hour a way, spent the night in her town so he could be there in the morning to help. The other aide waited on a long gas line at three a.m. so he could be at the family's home early on another day.
Our foster parents and staff also looked out for each other. One family in Teaneck lent their generator to another family in Hillsdale.
The storm's rage had its greatest impact on the YCS Geroge Washington School in Hackensack. A tidal surge from the Hackensack River flooded the first floor of the building and is requiring a massive clean up that will require professional cleaners several weeks to complete. We have rented Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Washington Township and the children will be able to get back to their regular academic routine with all their classmates and teachers on Monday, November 12th.
I would like to offer our thanks to Driscoll Foods. When our food supplies at Holley and Kilbarchan were running very low they made special deliveries. We are also very grateful Jersey Cares. When they heard that we needed warm blankets and pajamas for the day students at May Academy, they immediately responded with enough blankets and clothing for each child. Jersey Cares also delivered water and non perishable food items to our residences.
As we work to recover from the storm with many of you, I want to extend my warmest wishes for a very special Thanksgiving holiday filled with friendship, family and gratitude.
YCsS President and CEO