What do the people of Toms River, New Jersey have in common with the people of McClellanville? Well not a lot, other than generous caring hearts. 23 years ago, in the darkest hours of McClellanville following Hurricane Hugo, footage of the shrimp boats leaning on houses, trees through homes, and an entire town covered in mud, destruction, and chaos streamed across the news of the nation. The plight of our tiny village registered with the residents of Toms River and within hours they had begun planning relief efforts to help our ravaged town. Word spread through out their community on a local morning talk radio show and an outpouring of human generosity filled 38 trucks with donated goods accompanied by countless volunteers giving more of themselves than we can imagine for a town full of strangers. It’s hard to imagine getting through that time without their, and many other, generous donations.
Fast forward 23 years and Toms River is the one in need, having recently been struck by Superstorm Sandy. Several people formed relationships with some of those volunteers through all the years and have been reaching out to them to see what we can do to help out our mismatched sister-city.
The Town of McClellanville has decided to focus on monetary donations to aid the people of Tom’s River New Jersey. They have set up an account and have already accepted almost $1500 in donations that will go to a smaller-scale project in Toms River decided on by the “Relief Comittee” headed by Pat Gross, the McClellanville librarian, who has stayed in touch with many of the volunteers over the years. To contribute to this fund simply drop off or mail a check payable to “Town of McClellanville” with “Hurricane Sandy Relief” written in the memo line to 405 Pinckney St, McClellanville, SC 29458.
April Zorn, 1st grade teacher at CREECS, recalls the damage of Hugo through her own eyes as a 1st grade student and is gathering school supplies for the children of Toms River. Crayons, notebooks, gently used or new books, markers ,folders, book bags, tape, binders, composition books, scissors, pencil boxes, index cards, rulers, pencils, dry erase markers, notebook paper, construction paper, and washable paint are all being accepted at CREECS at 1011 Old Cemetery Road. If you don’t have time to pick up supplies and want to make a monetary donation, they will purchase supplies with those funds.
Local boat captain, Don Jackson, has already made one trip up north and is already gathering supplies for a second trip. The most needed items include kerosene heaters, gas cans for kerosene, and funds to help buy the kerosene and supplies, but school supplies and childrens items are also welcome to help the children of Toms River. Donations can be dropped off at the McClellanville Library at 222 Baker Street. Don can be reached at 843-457-8380 if you have any questions.
A librarian, a school teacher, and a boat captain all working together with many more members of our community to make a difference when differences matter the most.