So this happened to work out very well. My last blog was more or less a play by play of how the wonderful New Hampshire community has been coming together to support the hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Being the day before Thanksgiving, I suppose it would be appropriate for me to catch you up to speed on how the trip actually went and how amazing New Hampshire was in supporting the cause.
The company that I work for decided that we must do something in support of those who are suffering from hurricane Sandy. As my company is very global, and we have very few personnel here in the United States, we decided that doing something that could have immediate impact would be most effective. Sending money was not going to be immediate because much of those funds (50+ percent) would go towards paying Red Cross or FEMA salaries. Don’t get me wrong, these folks deserve good salaries as they are educated people, but we as a company would prefer that our funding or efforts go directly to the victims of this horrible disaster. Also sending money would be fairly ineffective because the items that are most needed in the New York, New Jersey area, are all sold out at stores. We concluded that sponsoring a truck of goods to New York would be suitable for our cause.
After a few press releases, email blasts, Facebook posts, tweets, etc., the community immediately latched onto the cause and within less than 24 hours, we had 15-drop zones from Bethlehem, New Hampshire to Millbury, Massachusetts. Our one truck relief effort quickly outgrew two trucks, and then three trucks, and forced us to think of alternative transportation methods. Loon Mountain was generous enough to allow us to use one of their big blue ski busses!
As we began to drive over the George Washington Bridge in New York, we saw a line of electrical company trucks waiting to be cleared for duty. Once we arrived in Breezy Point, New York we were amongst what looked like a warzone. We saw all sorts of safety vehicles from Police, Ambulance, Fire Trucks, National Guard, etc. Homes were being emptied and community members were all helping to gut houses and put all of the debris and wet furniture or appliances out in the front yard. Each yard looked the same. The road was extremely sandy from when the water level rose and you could see the water line on most houses.
Our first stop with the two U-Haul trucks was to the Breezy Point Fire department around 3:00PM on Saturday and they told us that they were no longer accepting clothing. They took a lot of our cases of water, diapers, cleaning supplies, demolition gear, and heavy boots. We then asked if they knew of anyone who would take the remainder of our supplies and clothing. The folks at the Fire Department mentioned that we would have a hard time getting rid of all our winter clothing, but the demolition and cleaning supplies would be hot item with many areas. They were exactly right. We stopped by several Fire Departments, homeless shelters, community centers, and Churches to distribute whatever they needed. The most popular items were canned goods, water, demolition gear, cleaning supplies, and positive conversation!
Around 9:30PM we finally found a large church that was organizing a distribution center in a casino parking lot. We were able to drop off the remainder of our high quality winter clothing, non-perishable goods, dog & cat food, water, etc. with them. They were extremely grateful especially when they heard that we came all the way from New Hampshire and that we were driving back that night. They provided us with snacks and Gatorade for the ride!
The New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York communities demonstrated an overwhelming amount of support throughout this entire effort. I am so very fortunate to live in such a giving state!
My CEO was so impressed with the success of the trip that he has asked us if we would be willing to start a philanthropic outreach under the Beacon Worldwide brand as the Beacon Relief Fund. At our meeting last night he mentioned that he envisions this program to be the “Red Cross” of the North East Kingdom. For example, when a family has a tragedy happen to them like a house fire, the Fire Department can contact the Beacon Relief Fund for immediate support, which could be housing, clothing, food, care, etc. This program would be supported by community donations and private funding.
We put together two videos as best as we could to summarize the entire community effort on both ends (New Hampshire, Massachusetts & New York):
- New Hampshire pick-ups: http://vimeo.com/user10383010/review/53257197/bf2a56c6c6
- New York drop offs: https://vimeo.com/user10383010/review/53366848/ee8e84eb5c