MIDDLETOWN, NJ - Students two states away have galvanized efforts to help their New Jersey peers and families. Four organizations of children in the Harford County Maryland Community: Girl Scout Troop 146 in Forest Hill, MD; the Bel Air Blaze Travel Soccer Team; Forest Lakes Elementary School in Forest Hill, MD and the Roye-Williams Elementary School in Havre de Grace, MD have organized relief efforts for families in Middletown Township, NJ.

The Middletown Township Public School District of Monmouth County is located in the coastal region of central New Jersey. It is bound by the Navesink River to the South, Raritan Bay to the North, and the Atlantic Ocean coastline to the East. Middletown is a community of 42 square miles, twelve neighborhood elementary schools, three middle schools and two large high schools. With over 10,000 students, Middletown is the largest K-12 school system in Monmouth County and one of the largest in the state. Because of its proximity to several water access points, many families in Middletown were significantly impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  

Approximately 5,000 homes were impacted by the storm. About 80% of the homes in the Port Monmouth, Leonardo, Belford and North Middletown areas of the township were damaged. Hundreds of homes in this area are uninhabitable and 50-100 are completely destroyed. This disaster has displaced a significant amount of students and families including all of the Coast Guard families located out on Sandy Hook.

All four Harford community organizations have gathered carloads full of cleaning supplies, blankets, towels, personal hygiene products, gift cards and even a kerosene heater to assist those in need. These efforts were organized by Beth Dolce, a parent and community member of the Forest Lakes Elementary School and her two daughters Anna and Allie Dolce. Beth, a former New Jersey resident responded to a request from her daughters to help other children impacted by this disaster. "It's all about children helping children," Beth explained. Within hours, her home was filled with donations. Her childhood friend, Jill Takacs, Assistant Superintendent of Middletown, drove down to Maryland with friends and loaded four cars with supplies. Additional donations will be brought up in the upcoming weeks as well.