SALISBURY — This year, Stacey Beaulieu’s best gift didn’t come from a store, wrapped with pretty paper and bows.
Some time before the holiday, the Salisbury resident and aide at Triton Regional High School realized news stories on Hurricane Sandy’s devastation may have been waning, but the assistance for those whose lives and homes were crushed by the storm was still very much needed.
“I just Googled, ‘How can I help with Hurricane Sandy relief?’ from my iPhone,” Beaulieu said. “A bunch of things popped up.”
Along with articles on the catastrophe that destroyed the homes and businesses of tens of thousands along the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut coastlines, there was the website of NECHAMA. The Minnesota-based, Jewish nonprofit named for the Hebrew word for comfort has been providing disaster relief to the needy, regardless of religious affiliation, since 1996.
Beaulieu submitted her application as a volunteer, offering to go down to the disaster zone during Christmas school vacation. Then she called her father, Salisbury Selectman Don Beaulieu, and asked for the kind of gift she’d never before requested.
“She asked me not to buy her anything,” Don Beaulieu said. “She said she wanted to go help the people whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. She said she had the time to go down, but didn’t have the money to cover the trip’s possible expenses.”
So, Don Beaulieu agreed to spend what he would have spent on a gift to send his daughter and her 18-year-old cousin, Dylan McCloy, a senior at Newburyport High School, to New York.
“I was very excited,” she said. “I was brought up to treat other people the way I’d want to be treated. If I was in that circumstance, I’d want someone to help me.”