Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00
The Golden Rule is a principle suggested to be practiced by everyone, everywhere.
One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself, the rule says, and the Mineola District Council PTA is giving the rule new meaning.
After Hurricane Irene, the PTA with several other student and parent-based volunteer groups, organized the “Golden Rule Project.” The groups have been collecting school supplies to aid the Binghamton/Owego area of New York State, which suffered flooding of immense proportions.
The MacArthur Elementary School in Binghamton was under 4 ½ feet of water while the Owego Elementary School, located directly on the Susquehanna River, is now found to be toxic due to flood waters and is labeled a hazardous area which nothing can be salvaged from, according to Robin Bischoff and Phyllis Badinger of the PTA.
Bischoff and Badinger put collection boxes in the lobby of every school in the district and Mineola High School will serve as the central staging area. Bischoff and Badinger came before the board of education last week to recap and update the activity of the project.
Donations will be accepted until Sept. 22 and possibly delivered to the area on Sept. 23. Board president Christine Napolitano donated a bag of supplies to Bischoff and Badinger on Sept. 15.
“We’ll take preschool to grade five school supplies, new or gently used back packs, gift cards from Target, Staples, Michaels, etc.,” Bischoff said. “We appreciate anything anyone can do.”
The PTA still needs boxes to transport the items north and reached out to Staples for a donation, but “corporate red tape and the short time frame” may prove costly, according to Bischoff. U-Haul donated 30 days of free storage to flood victims and told the PTA they weren’t in the position to help at the time.
“We’re calling on anyone to help us in this time of great need,” Bischoff said. “Whether knowing someone there or not, a 200 mile difference doesn’t make them any less our neighbors.”
Bischoff and Badinger have friends and relatives in the area and reached out to the area to facilitate the healing process from the storm.
“You’re doing a great thing here,” Napolitano said. “I’m sure if there’s anything we can do, we’ll do it. This a clear example of the district mission of contributing positively to a global society.”
The board passed a resolution to use a district vehicle to transport the supplies to the Binghamton/Owego area. Furthermore, the district would donate any excess supplies to the project.
District Superintendent Michael Nagler, a Binghamton University alum, will drive the supplies up with Bischoff and Badinger. Nagler said it would be at low cost to the district to supply a truck and boxes for the transportation of the supplies.
“I may even volunteer to drive up there because I am an Binghamton alum and did student teach at Binghamton High School, so there is a connection there,” he said. “It’s a good thing so it’s a no-brainer.”