In answer to what Superstorm Sandy served up to the borough of North Plainfield, the North Plainfield Education Association stepped up and dished out hot meals, a warming shelter, dry goods, and fun activities for the children at the Vermeule Community Center on Greenbrook Avenue. The impact of the superstorm on the borough of North Plainfield was extensive. Power loss, property damage, and displacement of families were experienced throughout the town.
NPEA quickly worked with the mayor’s office set up a relief center under the leadership of NPEA Co-Presidents Madelaine Colas and Roger Graubard, and Vice President Jackie Slattery. By Nov. 5 news of the center was sent already sent out to NPEA members. The information quickly spread to the community, as well as business members in North Plainfield and surrounding towns.
The relief center served the community every day through Nov. 9 with a brunch and supper.
“It was not uncommon to find up to 150 residents seeking in the center on any of those days,” Graubard said. “Not only did the center provide hot meals, comforting conversation, and a warming station, it also provided clothing, blankets, dry goods and a charging station to families who were in need.”
The volunteers also supplied games, coloring, and other activities to occupy children so that their parents enjoyed quality time with their children and grandchildren or found a much needed respite.
The outreach of donors was nonstop and given without hesitation. NPEA members cooked and served meals, while financial and supply contributions poured in from restaurants, department stores, churches, parent groups, and business associations from North Plainfield and surrounding communities.
“NPEA is deeply grateful for the incredible team work and tireless effort each day from association members and their families throughout this difficult period,” Colas said. “The recovery will go on for a long time in this district and throughout the northeast, but with the team work and goodwill of humankind, we will rebuild and we will prevail.”