December 13, 2012
Surfing and Snow Sports Community Leading the Volunteer Effort in Hardest Hit Regions; Donations Still Urgently Needed
Hurricane Sandy may be a distant memory for many in the mid-Atlantic region, but for some of our colleagues in the snow sports industry and many others along the coastline, the storm’s destruction is still dominating their lives. In order to keep people informed about ongoing efforts to dig out in Long Island, New York and New Jersey, SIA has created a virtual meeting place where the snow sports community can share stories of those affected as well as make donations that you can be assured will go directly to people in need. Located on Facebook, we’re calling it the Snow Sports Sandy Relief Hub and we encourage you to help out and share it with others.
Kerry O’Flaherty, VP of EWSRA, has been working very hard to help coordinate resources to the affected people in the snow sports industry as well as in the greater community. “I’ve been out volunteering every weekend, and it’s incredible how many people still need a lot of help. There are some towns on the south shore of Long Island and on the Jersey Shore where the whole infrastructure is gone. You can’t even get in there. Many people have lost everything. Many more still need help shoveling out their homes and stripping them down so they can start fixing them back up. Tens of thousands of people need relocation, and right now, they’re just bouncing around trying to find a place to stay. In fact my parents are living with me because their house in Long Beach was damaged,” she said.
O’Flaherty explained that at this point, needs have been met for warm clothing donations. “We’re at the stage now where we’ve dug the debris out, and the clean-up now is electric repair, heat and power repair, assessing mold damage, ripping out drywall. At this point, what we need for donations is money, because it takes money to make these repairs.”
EWSRA has partnered with the non-profit group Waves For Water in their fundraising efforts. O’Flaherty said that the group has been an incredible force for organizing volunteers and getting help distributed where it’s needed throughout the area. “We wanted to look out for our community in the snow sports industry; our reps and retailers in the region who have lost homes and businesses. Waves For Water is helping us get organized, both in our fundraising and in our coordination of resources and volunteers. They’re out here every weekend, shoveling and hauling and doing whatever it takes. The best thing about this effort is that we’re all here, in the trenches, so we know exactly who needs what kind of help. Any donation to the EWSRA Rep and Retail Relief Fund page or the Waves For Water site will go directly to the people we’re working with who need that help.”
Tyler Breuer, owner of Sundown Ski Shop, with four locations on Long Island, has been a key coordinator for volunteer efforts across the region. “Immediately after the storm I coordinated a clothing and supply drive. After that my role just evolved. Soon we had 200-plus volunteers coordinated to Long Beach and the Rockaways and we got people motivated through social networking. We’re working closely with Waves For Water; they’ve gathered a lot of people from the surfing community and can get the money and manpower to exactly where it’s needed.”
Breuer has organized several fundraisers and has raised between $6-7,000 so far. “The great thing about the Waves For Water site is that people can set up their own fundraisers on it. So anyone in the industry can put together an idea and post it to the site to get the word out and start collecting donations.”
Breuer said the lasting effects of the storm and amount of work that still needs to be done is overwhelming. “It’s just incredible the amount of damage that was done. Many of my employees had damage to their homes, and a lot of reps in the area lost property. There are entire towns where there is no power, no services, and houses can’t be entered. On parts of the Jersey Shore, there are still restrictions for entering certain towns, so people can only get into their houses to work on them for a couple of hours a day. The mold is growing in those places so fast; I can’t imagine that any of those houses will be able to be inhabited again.”
Read full article here.