'The Wildcat Shack’ helps Superstorm Sandy’s youngest victims get by 8 years after storm

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A group of Ocean County teachers says that eight years after being hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the students and their families are still lacking access to everyday tasks, such as doing laundry.

The staff at Pinelands Regional Junior High in Little Egg Harbor took matters into their own hands by creating the Wildcat Shack – a no-questions-asked judgment-free zone.

Wildcat Shack is like stepping into a store. Clothing racks are filled to capacity. Food shelves are fully stocked.

“Hygiene products, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, lotions – anything and everything,” says teacher Daniel Grasso.

The teachers say that they recognized a need among their students.

“Just yesterday, I had a student come in who was in need of some food, so we gave him a care package of some nonperishable items and some perishable items and sent him home with a week's worth of food,” says Grasso.

The Wildcat Shack also includes clothes washers and dryers for laundry. They were donated by the New Jersey-based organization The Social Conscience Project. The laundry facilities give students access to clean clothes.

"We were seeing a need for laundry service with previous interactions with students who have been recently homeless or homes have been recently foreclosed,” says Grasso. “They have no access to transportation, no access to any washing machine of any kind and no kid needs to come to school feeling less-than."

It is not just the teachers who are keeping the program running. Students like seventh grader Jack Lampron also volunteer during the week.

“I’ve learned that not everybody has the same life as you and some people have it harder than you and you need stuff like this to help survive and keep going,” he says.

Members of the community are also able to use the laundry facilities. The Wildcat Shack takes appointments two days a week and is hoping to expand that in the near future.

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