With damage statewide and victims in every county, BCC stepped up and did its part in the hurricane recovery efforts.

Emanuele Calianno, Staff Writer

It goes without saying that the past few weeks have been a tremendous challenge for everyone.
Hurricane Sandy has left New Jersey broken, its inhabitants struggling at best, and devastated at worst.

Thousands were left homeless or with irreparable damage to their property and possessions, and are now facing unimaginable debt. Countless have had to tough out freezing temperatures without power and heat, or without access to fresh food and supplies. Many will continue to be deprived of these basic needs for some time.

In reaction to the calls for help throughout the region, Bergen Community College has taken full charge in the effort towards their relief. After a week of suspended classes and operations, faculty, staff, and the student body altogether have teamed up and taken individual projects to provide help to all those who need it on campus.

As Student Activities Program Assistant Gregory Fenkart explains, “Our main focus right now is to give help to all members of our BCC family in need, and later on direct our efforts to other victims around New Jersey. So many of our students and employees have suffered great damage, and we want them to know that we’re here for them.”

Immediately after the reopening of the school, a help center was set up to give all possible assistance. The Hurricane Help Center is located in in Room S-152 of the Pitkin Building, with a staff ready to help with whatever necessity.

This help can vary from providing for basic living needs, to more specific necessities like assistance with receiving prescribed medication, replacing damaged textbooks, and even emotional counseling. You can walk into the center any weekday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., call the designated hotline, or contact the staff by email.

The school’s Board is also coordinating with outside groups all over New Jersey, mainly volunteer associations (such as the Red Cross), churches, small businesses and local town governments, keeping in close contact with them to receive and provide assistance and donations. But this is a mere fraction of all the work the school as a whole has been doing in response to Sandy.

The Student Government Association has been collecting donation ideas for the hurricane relief drive which has given extraordinary results. All members of the SGA have donated items and time to the collection and sorting of items. They are also currently preparing a series of fundraising events, that include but are not limited to, a November cookout, a telethon, a food market and possibly a benefit concert featuring talent from around the school.

Campus clubs have also joined in the cause, and will be donating the entirety of the profits made during their respective activities scheduled during this period. This, and much more, has been a main focus for so many of our students, faculty, and staff members.

The school and its groups are united in encouraging everyone to join in the cause, to give and receive whatever possible, to work with others towards relief projects. Many members of the BCC community have been evacuated from their homes, have lost their job, have had to wait hours for a few gallons of gas or a loaf of bread, and have spent the first November nights cold and in the dark.

It seems only natural that everyone, afflicted and spared alike, should join forces and collaborate to revert to the serenity and stability we’re used to in our quiet little state.

For all those needing assistance, looking to donate or collaborate in a projects, here are some helpful contacts:

Hurricane Help Center, Room S-152, Pitkin Building, Phone:  (201) 301 1580

E-mail:  bccdisasterrelief@bergen.edu

Student Government Association, Room A-101 Pitkin Building, Phone: (201) 447 7452
Office of Student Life, Room A-115 Pitkin Building, Phone: (201) 447 7215