Hurricane Sandy-Stricken Belmar Families Get Help, Support From School Teachers

Hurricane Sandy devastated communities along the east coast and kept New Jersey and New York students out of school for a week or more. Families went umpteen days without power or heat.

In Belmar, N.J., Belmar Elementary School teachers went door-to-door, offering help to their students victimized by the storm.

"When they see us on their front doorstep knocking and they realize it's us and we're here to see if they're OK, their faces lit up," Assistant Principal Lisa Hannah told PBS NewsHour. "In a time like this where kids are scared and you see it in their eyes, the more people they have around them that they are familiar with and that they know care about them can only positively impact them."

For those who need shelter and hot food, the teachers were able to bring about 50 students to the still powerless school for lunch -- and reading.

"We just grab baskets of books and let the kids grab books," Hannah said. "We try and sneak in, if we can, a little bit of education."

Luckily, Belmar Elementary didn't sustain the storm damage that hit other schools in New Jersey, rendering them "unusable as educational facilities for quite some time," according to School Board Association President John Bulina.

As most schools in the state have reopened, all but 27 of Belmar's 550 elementary students are back in class. School officials are in the process of contacting and locating the missing students.

Watch the full PBS NewsHour segment above.



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