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We have received an outpouring of donations and will not be collecting any further supplies at this time. We shipped a tractor trailer down to Seagate, off Coney Island this morning. Please check back on our website for full details including photos.
Having braced ourselves last week for power outages or worse, Hurricane Sandy blew by our region. Now that we’re seeing the devastation in the NYC region, our hearts go out to those now living without the basic essentials, their whole lives ruined.
We hope the stories and photos inside inspire you to give to a relief organization or perhaps consider assisting us with our project. We hope to post more information to our Facebook page and/or website about this project and those who are partnering with us. If you feel some of the inspiration we do, please pass this along to your colleagues and friends and ask them to donate or participate in a similar way.
On Friday morning, a few days after realizing we had essentially no impact from the storm on our properties, it occurred to us to find a way to pay it forward, in a grassroots sort of way and trading on some of our resources (manpower, vehicle, tools, tenants who might want to donate items). With the amazing help of our employee Dylan Turek and his friend Andy, we organized our own mini-relief effort in a matter of a few hours.
Friends and colleagues as well as tenants in our office buildings donated blankets, food and clothing and we filled our company truck. Later that night Dylan and Andy headed down to Staten Island, where we initially thought the need was greatest.
Efforts this weekend:
Dylan and Andy were in NYC this weekend helping with relief needs. A colleague of Dylan’s father offered to house their team so as to avoid straining other local resources.
On Saturday they worked in Staten Island with a husband and wife team who had organized a neighborhood-wide relief effort. Supplies were brought to a shopping plaza parking lot and vehicles like ours were valuable in getting supplies out to affected neighborhoods.
Later on Saturday, they were informed that the need was greater in Coney Island so they moved their efforts to that area. They distributed several truckloads in Coney Island where agencies like FEMA and Red Cross had not yet reached, mainly with elderly populations.
In neighborhoods where there were supplies available, the agencies were distributing them from central points. Unfortunately some people had mobility issues or were afraid to leave home because of looting. Also, the lines for any type of government service were running about 5 hours long and all items were being rationed.
There are people in Coney Island who want to leave, but their cars are either washed away or unusable, and there is no gas available. They visited the basement apartment of an elderly man in Coney Island who had all of his possessions ruined by flooding.
Over the course of the weekend it was evident that electric power is being restored and clean water is becoming more available. Relief agencies are receiving more supplies but the distribution remains a challenge. The gasoline situation is horrible but clearly going to improve.
Opportunities to help:
People have approached us after seeing our efforts, and they are interested in donating items they have, buying supplies, or donating money. If you have money to give, we think your funds can be used most efficiently by one of the agencies working to distribute aid:
- United Way Sandy Recovery Fund
- American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
- The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Hurricane Relief Fund
- Masbia Soup Kitchen
- Food Bank for New York City
- Tunnel to Towers Foundation Hurricane Relief Fund
- Brooklyn Recovery Fund
Partnering with us in our next delivery run:
If giving money to an organization isn’t your thing, or if you’d like to help in a more hands-on way, we have identified a partner who is helping us send a large moving truck later this week filled with more supplies. Here is a list of items we believe will be needed later this week:
- Disposable utensils such as plates/bowls/cups flatware (sealed unopened bags)
- Cleaning supplies such as gloves, bleach, soap, big trash bags, ammonia, mops, buckets, sponges, shovels, paper towels, disinfectant wipes
- Tarps, carts, shopping carts, wheelbarrows to transport goods to homes.
- Stick-up LED lights lights
- Socks and underwear (new only; kids and adults sizes)
- Baby supplies like diapers (including toddler sizes), wipes, etc. (sealed unopened bags)
- Basic first aid supplies like neosporin, aspirin, tylenol, ibprofen and other OTC drugs, nasal spray (sealed unopened packages)
- Dust / particle masks and work gloves
- Flashlights and batteries
- Personal hygiene supplies, preferably small or single-use e.g. like soap, deodorant, toothbrushes/toothpaste, hand sanitizer, tissues, combs (sealed unopened packages)
- Power tools and small appliances e.g. microwave, toaster, etc (many were destroyed by floods)
- Small books and toys in good condition (new or good condition)
If you have, or wish to buy, any such items in good condition, please bring any and all such items to our maintenance shop located in the back of the 100 Great Oaks building (follow the signs when you enter the office park). If no one is there and weather permitting, you may leave items outside.
Update – this collection ended on Thursday 10/8/12 at 10:00 AM.
Note that based on currently available information there is an abundance of clothing. We therefore ask that you do not send clothing, coats or blankets. It is also too early to send furniture and furnishings as many homes are still uninhabitable.
If you can’t buy supplies personally, and you are intent on donating to our effort rather than one of the agencies above, I will reluctantly accept any contributions you send to us.
If you can organize a large local collection here in the Albany area – perhaps at your community center or place of worship – please consider setting up a collection point and delivering to our shop later this week. Or, you can email me and we can organize for our truck to stop there.
Future efforts / rebuilding:
Several of our employees are interested in doing hands-on work to help with rebuilding. We hope to arrange this in the coming weeks, in an organized fashion with a partner agency that can help with supplies, logistics, permitting, etc. If you or your employees have trade skills and would like to create a local team to join the rebuilding effort, please contact Dylan at email@example.com.
Finally, thank you for caring.