Chaminade High School students raised $19,372 for a Catholic school near San Juan, Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.
The Hurricane Maria Relief Fund began as an idea from a Chaminade senior who wanted to donate some extra money he earned from a weekend business.
Students contributed to the relief fund during the week of Oct. 16. Money was collected by moderators of Chaminade’s homerooms.
Thomas Daly, of Port Jefferson, read news reports detailing Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico.
He thought about the people whose homes were damaged or destroyed and the stories of families who couldn’t get in touch with their relatives or, worse yet, lost a loved one. As the island lay devastated, Daly felt he could not sit idly.
He wanted to donate money he earned landscaping. Then, he decided to involve his Chaminade classmates.
“I knew the school could help and find a specific organization we could support,” Daly said. “Together, we could aid people who desperately needed it.”
A senior editor on the school newspaper and a varsity swimmer, Daly spent the last few years building a weekend and summer yard-work business.
He made $300 in two days and wanted to donate it to victims of the storm, thinking, “Somebody else could use this better than I.” His clients matched his earnings to total $600.
After speaking with the administration at Chaminade, and learning of a Marianist school in Puerto Rico, Daly enlisted students in all divisions by spearheading the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund.
Chaplain Rev. Garrett Long, S.M. established contact with the brothers who oversee the school, Colegio San José, in San Juan.
“With phone and Internet lines down, it took a few days for us to reach them,” Daly said. “We knew there was an immediate need. But, we had to make sure we did this the right way to maximize what we could give.”
Soon, Daly, Fr. Garrett, and director of Campus Ministry Michael Foley hung posters around the school and announcements alerted students of the collection.
The Puerto Rican school’s brothers, students, and families survived the storm.
However, Hurricane Maria damaged or destroyed their homes, cut off a flow of daily necessities, and left some parents without work. The school itself suffered an estimated $1 million in damage.
“We may never meet the people we set out to help,” Daly said, “but it doesn’t matter. The family at Colegio San José is our family, too. It’s important for us to take care of one another.”
Colegio San José was founded in 1938 and serves more than 450 students in grades 7-12. It is an all-boys school and its colors are crimson and gold – similar to Chaminade.