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Senior volunteers in her hometown devastated by Hurricane Sandy

Senior Perrie White, middle, volunteers during Jan Term with others whose homes were also damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
January 29, 2013

Although it has been three months since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the New Jersey Shore, residents there continue to recover. Perrie White, a senior Sociology major, from Mantoloking, N.J., whose town was devastated during Sandy, decided to spend her Jan Term giving back to her neighbors in need.

White spent nearly eight hours a day, six days a week, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Bay Head, N.J., leading 150 volunteers at the church, managing donations and serving between 250 and 300 meals daily.

“At first, I didn't know what I was going to do to fulfill my Jan Term requirement,” White said. “But, then, my advisor Dr. Dundes (Sociology professor) gave me the idea of volunteering at home. Since my mom is heavily involved in the community, she helped get me in touch with the church. This is the only church in the area that made it through the storm, so it has been bombarded with donations of food and other supplies, and really needed someone to help manage the day-to-day activities.”

During her time there, she was even interviewed by local newspapers and several filmmakers documenting the hurricane’s aftermath. 

While she was on-campus at McDaniel during Sandy, she was hearing about what was happening to her hometown and, as she said, “really wanted to go home.” She left McDaniel a few days after the storm, and was there with her parents when they witnessed the destruction for the first time.

“It was awful,” she recounted. “Although my family is displaced while we renovate our house, I was lucky. There are people who have nothing left.

“This has been a bittersweet situation. I never would have stepped foot in this church otherwise. In some ways, it is the best thing that could have happened. I've discovered that I enjoy helping and being depended on by others. I am thinking that I might look into a career in national disaster planning after graduation in May.”

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