Toms River Regional Schools district employees celebrated Valentine’s Day last week by showing love for Puerto Rico with a Jeans Day and bake sale fundraiser.
Spearheaded by Information Systems Technology Programmer Adeline Figueroa, the effort raised $550 for Agapito Lopez School in Punto Santiago, Figueroa’s middle school alma mater. Although she's a native New Yorker, Figueroa lived in Puerto Rico for 11 years.
In a message to her colleagues inviting participation in the fundraiser, Figueroa wrote, “Many of you are aware of Hurricane Maria, a category five hurricane that devastated the island of Puerto Rico on September 20th of 2017. Those affected by Hurricane Sandy know firsthand that the recovery will take years and that any help is welcomed. I figured that since we are in the business of education we should try to help another school district in need.
“I have made two trips to PR since Hurricane Maria and, although they are still without power, I visited the area and made contact with the PTO & Mrs. Ramos, a teacher at the Agapito Lopez School (intermediate school I attended) in (Humacao) Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico. The school lost mostly everything on their first level since they sit next to a lake in a neighborhood across from the ocean, so ALL donations will go to assist in their recovery.”
The district has played a significant role in providing outreach to communities affected by natural disasters this year, particular with direct support its peers in education. This summer, employees donated more than $4,000 to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, and in the fall Toms River Regional Schools joined Toms River Township in adopting Beaumont, Texas, which resulted in an initial $1,400 gift card donation to Beaumont Independent School District. Thanks to Mrs. Figueroa, the district is hopeful this latest effort has a positive impact for students and staff in need.