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St. John’s Community Helps to Rebuild

St. John’s Community Helps to Rebuild

Alex Arpag

A St. John's student helps organize the clothes being dropped off for donations in Far Rockaway, NY.

St. John’s students have been supporting those affected by Superstorm Sandy by holding fundraising events, organizing and planning service trips to the hardest-hit parts of New York.

Many of these trips were announced via email from STJ Service and many students went to with various cleaning endeavors.

St. John’s held a fundraiser, the first of many events, through Java Johnnies where $120 was raised to send to people impacted by the hurricane. There was an open mic session and live music was provided. It was hosted by the Student Governments of all three St. John’s campuses and seven students from all three campuses performed.

Junior Jason Lapin was one of the performers of the event and felt honored to be a part of it.

“It definitely felt more like something I had to do, something with more meaning than just a typical performance,” he said. “It was another way to try and help the disaster relief, and it was beautiful because I never thought I’d be able to play music to try and help people survive after such devastation.”

This past weekend, juniors Sophia Markowska and Adrian Tovar went to Breezy Point and helped by folding and organizing clothes.

“Overall, it was a humbling experience,” Markowska said. “I was also very shocked at how impacted Long Island was; I saw the picture of the aftermath of the hurricane but I had no clue that two weeks after it hit, the devastation would be so visible.”

“Honestly, I would have wanted to do much more, like help clean outside and deal with damage,” Tovar said. “This experience impacted me in a different way; it was more of a realization that every little bit counts no matter what it is.”

Senior Peter Barker also went on the trip, but was assigned to serve at the Rockaways. He found it to be an eye-opening service experience, compared to the others he’s participated in.

“I’ve done a lot of service through St. John’s and I’ve had a lot of great experiences but immediately after this one, I realized this was one of the more gratifying service experiences I’ve done because while I was doing it, there was such a drive,” he said. “The energy was just coming from within everyone and I thought it was really incredible because everyone was just working together.

Andrea Pinnavaia, a campus minister and a professor, described what the purpose of the mass was.

“So many people were affected by the hurricane in so many different ways, but not only do we gather to remember these people and to pray for them, but we also gather to give thanks for those of us who have our health and remain safe during the storm,” she said. “We’re going to gather as a community at 12:15 on Thursday to pray and to give thanks and to be a community, which is what we do here.”

Even the favorite watering hole of St. John’s students, Tradition’s Pub, hosted a storm relief event, where all proceeds of the minimum $10 entry donation went to charity.

Campus Ministry has been redirecting people to Catholic Charities, where students can find more opportunities to get involved and to donate. They can also send an email of interest to STJ Service at stjservice@stjohns.edu.
Students can visit www.stjohns.edu/sandyrelief to read updated information on how to help and how the University has been helping.

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