The evening of Monday, Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy barreled into the densely populated U.S. eastern seaboard. The hurricane itself, the inland low pressure zones that blended into it, and an astronomical high tide caused by the full moon combined to make Sandy the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, with winds spanning 1,100 miles. Sandy to date has caused billions in damages, and the flooding and devastation that occurred in New York and New Jersey are unlike anything people have seen before. Despite a massive level of nationwide news coverage, it is really difficult to fathom the scale and scope of the damages that the storm surge caused across New York City and the boroughs. Communities in Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens were destroyed by flooding, fire or sheer physical impact of wind and water to structures. These are not small communities; they are home to hundreds of thousands of families who are predominantly lower-income.
Like many businesses, employees in Waggener Edstrom’s NYC office were temporarily impacted by the effects of Sandy. Every one of them knows at least one person who lost a home, a business, or belongings, or who has been sick or traumatized in the wake of the storm. And like many New Yorkers, our office and our employees have gone into the neighborhoods as volunteers - with nonprofit organizations like Red Hook Volunteers - to lend a hand, to help clean up, restore and bring back the communities that have been left devastated in the wake of Sandy. WE made an initial donation of $2,500 to the American Red Cross earlier this month and in honor of the U.S. national #GivingTuesday™ we’re galvanizing the support of ALL WE employees to support RHI in its restoration, cleanup and repair projects by launching WE’s “Red Hook Tool Shed for Sandy” #givingtuesday campaign.
Red Hook is a highly diverse area that lies directly on New York’s East River. The majority of the population is lower-income, and many families have been in the neighborhood for generations. Volunteering in Red Hook has been hugely gratifying for WE-NYC employees. The people in damaged areas are so tremendously thankful that New Yorkers are banding together to right the wrongs that the storm caused. After one volunteer trip, the WE-NY office decided it should do more than just offer our hands. WE partnered with Red Hook Volunteers to identify a need and created a giving project that will span all of the WE offices (incl. Social Media outreach via @WE_Citizen #GivingTuesday #WEAct)
Red Hook Tool Shed for Sandy aims to provide necessary tools for the work ahead in a neighborhood where many residents lost valuable tools along with their keepsakes. Our campaign will run from Tuesday, Nov. 27 – Tuesday, Dec. 4 and the goal is to help fill Red Hook Volunteers tool shed with new and gently used tool donations collected by our U.S. employees. WE will also match up to $1,000 in employees’ monetary donations to the tool campaign. Red Hook’s Tool Shed / Share is intended to be a check-out location for volunteers and residents alike to support the continued reconstruction of the Red Hook community.
Similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping in the U.S.,#GivingTuesday™ aims to change the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season by supporting nonprofit organizations. The inaugural #GivingTuesday designation could potentially change many people’s view of giving at the holiday and we hope the Red Hook Tool Shed will help provide sustainable solutions and everlasting change for the better in much needed communities too.