College Community Fundraises for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Release Date: Friday, February 1, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The devastation of Hurricane Sandy impacted thousands of families and communities on the east coast, and many of the College’s alumni and friends. Through the hard work, dedication, and generosity of the campus community and alumni, Chestnut Hill has been able to aid in providing supplies and much needed financial support for those communities hit hardest to rebuild. 


The College immediately focused its effort in aiding St. Rose Parish and School in Belmar, NJ, after hearing about the significant flooding and extraordinary loss suffered by those in the parish community and damage to the church and school from alumna Sister Kathy Nace ’88. Campus ministry gathered a meeting of clubs, organizations and departments with students, staff, faculty and administration from all across campus to form a Hurricane Relief Committee.


Through this committee, campus ministry was able to start a goods and supplies drive that was able to send immediate relief with cleaning supplies, non-perishable food, hats, gloves, coats, and blankets, as well as gas station and supermarket gift cards.


During the Christmas and advent season, the Hurricane Relief Committee sponsored a “reverse giving tree” where donors were given a Christmas ornament to place on the tree and then given a “Thank You” Christmas tag for donating. Other Hurricane Committee members sponsored free hot chocolate and homemade cookies at the Chestnut Hill Business Association’s Stag and Doe Nights in December. The Logue Library staff decided to swap their ordinary “gift exchange” with one another for gift cards for the Belmar, NJ school. These campus-wide efforts netted more than $1,000 to help St. Rose’s Parish. “In the difficult economic climate that faces our CHC family, nothing strikes home like a home spun tragedy,” says Mindy Welding, IHM, M.A., M.S., director of campus ministry at the College. “Our Chestnut Hill College family truly reaches deep into their pockets to help others in desperate need.”


Following the enthusiastic efforts of campus ministry, the Alumni Relations Office spearheaded a very successful campaign to make Christmas morning a joy for the hundreds of children in St. Rose’s and other Monmouth County parishes staffed by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Alumni relations launched “17 days and Counting” from December 2 through December 18, challenging alumni to contribute gift cards for the families to use for Christmas gifts to make the holiday joyful.


More than 95 alumni responded with the spirit and generosity that exemplifies a graduate of Chestnut Hill College, generating more than $9,500 in gift cards that were sent to St. Rose Parish on December 18.


“Our alumnae turned out in full force, with classes from the Sixties dominating the response,” says Pat Canning, director of alumni relations at the College.“The impact of this response was enormous. More than $9,500 was raised over 17 days, including cards from alumnae who had already contributed once and then sent cards directly to St. Rose right before Christmas. This speaks to the compassion our alumnae feel for the families so horribly affected by this tragedy.”


Sister Nace, a graduate of the Class of 1988, told us about a family given several cards. This family of six children, ranging from elementary school through their early 20s, suffered tremendous damage to their home. “The father was really grateful for the cards,” Sister Nace said, “although he was a bit reluctant at first to take them. As most of our parents said when first approached, ‘someone else needs it more.’ He didn't want to accept the cards initially, because he thought that someone was worse off and could use them. It has been very humbling (in a good way) for myself and parents when I have to explain I have a list of families to help, and I'm working down the list so the families who were “worse off” have already been contacted. Now it’s your turn, I say, to be helped. No one ever expects to be on that list.”


“We’re so grateful to our wonderful alums for their remarkable response to this very real need,” says Canning.