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Barnum Woods lends a hand to Puerto Rico

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The East Meadow community grew a little bigger when Barnum Woods Elementary School adopted the school that Head Custodian Onix Ruiz attended as a child in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Jose Celso Barbosa Elementary School in Ponce Puerto Rico sustained severe damage after Hurricane Maria slammed into the center of the island in late-September.

Principal Greg Bottari joined with the school’s Planning Management Team to contribute to the school’s recovery efforts.

"We have a lofty goal to give the school $10,000 that I am sure we will reach,” Bottari said. “The Barnum Woods Community has always responded when asked. Having Onix as the face of our efforts has really hit home."

PMT members Donna Goldstein and Todd Weinstein have been in charge of the fundraising efforts and students have sold World's Finest chocolate bars.

“So far, the response has been terrific,” Weinstein said, "Everybody loves Onix, selling chocolate is easy and the children really want to help. It’s such a great teachable moment."

The contributions echo Barnum Woods’s response post-Hurricane Sandy, when they adopted and donated $18,500 to the Francis Hegarty School, in Island Park, which sustained heavy damage being so close to the coast.

—Brian Stieglitz