Help - in the shape of water, clothing and other items - flowed out of Secaucus by the pallet load to go to workers sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center thanks to the efforts of the schools, the police and fire departments and the Department of Public Works last week.
Food and clothing drives started within days of the Sept. 11 disaster, as the schools began collecting money and supplies.
In the middle school and both elementary schools, students began bringing in a variety of items including socks, batteries, and bottled water.
Jamie Troncoso, the teacher who serves as the SGO advisor, and Anna Portales, the advisor to the Builders Club in the Middle School, took charge of the drive for the three schools.
"We're working in conjunction with the DPW," said Middle School Principal Fred Ponti. "People have been responding. Residents have been bringing boxes of supplies over. So have people from various businesses in town."
Troncoso said students have passed out flyers throughout the town, seeking to get the community involved.
"At first, we all felt very helpless," she said. "We wanted to so something. So the students thought maybe we could do this."
As a result, students have managed to collect sweatshirts, sweat pants, working gloves and other things needed at the search site in lower Manhattan.
Ponti said the principals in both elementary schools were very excited about the project.
Troncoso said the students learned the workers needed things like mouthwash, towels, boots, and flashlight batteries.
"It is a positive way to deal with a negative situation," she said. "Teachers and students are getting together to help."
People can drop off items at the three schools, and the effort will continue until there is no longer a need.
Thomas Mateo, one of the students involved in organizing effort, said he wanted to get involved.
"I thought people in New York needed all kinds of stuff because of the tragedy," he said.
Billy Heitman, vice president of the Student Government Organization, agreed.
"I fell bad for all those people and I know kids with parents that were there when it happened," he said. "I wanted to help out in some way."
Anthony Zito said the issue hit close to home since he had an uncle who was a firefighter, and many firefighters were involved in the search effort.
"I fell bad about what happened, and the clothing goes to help firefighters and other heroes clearing the rubble," Zito said.
Michael Trombetta, the Middle School's bulletin editor, said this was the way he figured he could help.
"I feel bad for everyone there and wanted to help. I think people should donate to those who are helping there," he said.
Ponti, who lives in Lakewood, said his wife has organized an effort there as well. The goods are being shipped up to Secaucus DPW where they will be combined with the effort here in Secaucus to be shipped across the Hudson River to the diggers in Manhattan.
On a high school level, students have swept out throughout the town seeking cash donations.
Frank Costello, assistant principal at the high school, said the high school Key Club and the Student Government Organization contacted the American Red Cross. Pat Impreveduto, principal, said the school thought originally to do a blood drive, but were told the Red Cross needed cash for supplies instead.
"In the first hour we got $400 thanks to the faculty," he said. "Students will be going throughout the town with canisters."
He said that students had wanted to find some way of helping the effort, but decided against giving blood because the blood banks were adequate.
School officials met with student government and other members of the class.
"They decided the best thing to do was to direct their efforts where they were needed most," Costello said.
Impreveduto said high schoolers had raised $500 on the first day. Since workers at the site in New York needed specific items, school officials planed to seek out a local haberdashery to purchase things like socks, t-shirts and underwear so as to get them to the workers right away.
Students would be around town and at public sporting events selling red, white and blue ribbons.
Over the first weekend, Sept. 15 and 16, kids started gathering cash near the center of town.
Dawn Pelletier, teacher advisor to the Key Club, said the students raised $3,000 the first day.
"We got here about 11 a.m.," said Logan Carr, one of the students collecting near Marra's Drug Store. "People have been very generous."
The Secaucus PBA and the Office of Emergency Management have also been very active, donating and shipping to the site pallet loads of bottled water and other items workers need at the search site.