Local Student Launches Sandy Relief Effort
Liam Ragno is a helper by heart, so when he heard about the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in his native New Jersey he sprung into action.
By David Fonseca
Liam Ragno,10, is a Jersey boy.
Born in Jersey City, the fifth grader at Mount Washington Elementary School still has family members who live in the Garden State, many of whom have been deeply affected by Superstorm Sandy.
A helper by heart, Liam decided to take action to help support Sandy victims who are now attempting to put their lives back together while already bracing for another Nor'easter.
Each day this week, Liam has set up a donation booth in front of his school. He's out there collecting supplies from 7:30 a.m. until the first school bell rings, and then back again for more donation gathering at 2:30 p.m. after the school day is over.
Eric Ragno, Liam's step-father, said that the efforts were inspired by Maria's Italian Kitchen; the Pasadena restaurant is owned by Hoboken, NJ native Madelyn Alfano and they are conducting a fundraiser of their own.
"We were surprised that larger corporations weren't doing more to help. My family is from New Jersey, and some of our friends still don't have power a full week later, "Ragno said. "So Liam started his own donation drive to assist with relief efforts."
Ragno said that anybody who knows Liam wouldn't be surprised by his actions.
"He recently put together small Halloween packages to send over to soldiers in Afghanistan, which they give out to local children," Ragno said.
Giving is in Liam's blood, Ragno explained. His birth-father was an police officer who died during the rescue efforts of Sept. 11, 2001.
"He is an amazing young man, with a passion for life and helping others. He will often earn money at home to buy gifts for his brother, his uncle, or people in need," he said. "His hugs have a genuine healing effect, and he knows when to come up and offer you one."
Liam's fundraising effort will conclude on Friday with a bake sale from 7:30 to 10 a.m. and then again after school at 2:30 p.m.
"Several families are donating baked goods, and Mardy's Munchies will be offering a delectable selection of cupcakes to help in our efforts," Ragno said.