MATTOON — Arland D. Williams Jr. Elementary School students will be sending approximately $1,600 to the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

A Mattoon school district press release reported that the students hosted a coin drive in December with the goal of collecting $1,000 to assist school students impacted by the October superstorm.

The Arland D. Williams Jr. Elementary School students enthusiastically met and exceeded their goal for the coin drive.

“The work involved the entire school with students, staff, and families participating,” Principal Kris Maleske said in a press release.

“It was great to see the efforts of so many by helping others in need.”

Maleske emailed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office for suggestions as to where to send the money and they responded.

“Thanks to you and the students of Arland D. Williams Jr. Elementary for fundraising to help students affected by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey,” wrote Stacie Mesuda, state legislative and intergovernmental affairs staff members with the governor’s office.

“We truly appreciate your efforts.”

The email included the online wish list from schools that lost many items during Superstorm Sandy.

“This would be a great way for you and your students to help replace supplies that were damaged,” Mesuda wrote.

Arland D. Williams Jr. Elementary School students voted to split the money between the two schools Mesuda suggested.

Mesuda reported that Bay Head Elementary School in Bay Head, N.J., lost everything in their gym, including athletic equipment and uniforms.

The Bay Head School’s art room, business office, and music room and instruments also were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.

The second school, Hoboken Dual Language Charter School in Hoboken, N.J., also needed gym equipment, art supplies, furniture and musical instruments replaced.

Principal Maleske thanked Hinckley Springs for donating the large plastic water bottles for the donated coins, Becky Guymon of the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization, and First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust for counting the coins.

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