The 1E New York office has not been the same recently, not since “Superstorm Sandy” came to visit.
Over the past few days, the immediate needs of the city in the wake of Sandy have become much clearer. New Jersey still has 780,000 power outages and New York has 540,000 homes without power. Today, 65 schools remained closed and will most likely continue to be for the rest of the week. As New York attempts to get back to normal, a second storm is now threatening our area this week. Temperatures will drop over the next three days, bringing wind chills down to 33 degrees Fahrenheit to areas that were severely affected by Sandy.
You just have to look around to see the extent of the damage and with people left without power, transport and even homes, something had to be done.
That’s why it is so amazing to see so many people helping each other out. From something as simple as offering to charge cell phones for free right up to large donations and volunteering from major celebrities. When people are in need, the natural instinct to help one another is a strong one. To spread joy and cheer to those in need, this is a behaviour that 1E proudly calls “1E Sunshine”. So with everyone doing their part to help one another, what can 1E do to spread sunshine to those who need it?
After making several phone calls to local shelters and talking to people on the ground, it had been decided that the greatest impact helping those in need would be by delivering items like food, batteries and coats directly so we asked our amazing employees here at 1E to drop off donations in our office over the course of the week for express distribution to local shelters.
For our small office even on our first day of reopening we've had a better response in donations than we had originally anticipated. It's great to see everyone wanting to help out those in need.
Here at 1E, we also like to keep our employees happy and well fed with regular grocery deliveries to the office. In order to further the efforts of helping those in need, the NY office has agreed to take the funds that were allocated to groceries and donate them to the hurricane relief efforts. We’ll be doing this the entire month of November and possibly extend into December depending on how the efforts go. Just another example of the wonderful employees we have here at 1E who want to spread sunshine. It’s heart-warming to know that everyone wants to do their bit here at 1E – forfeiting a little office luxury in order to better the lives of others.
Some of our other super 1E individuals have even generously offered their time (and vehicles!) to assist with transporting donations to local shelters in Hoboken and the Rockaways. We want to thank Brian Gebert and Lauren Bermudez in particular for their efforts and contribution. We also like to thank all the other volunteers and contributors who did not want to be named and helped in their own way.
Apurva Desai, North America Technical Lead at 1E, was one of these individuals that decided to spread some sunshine to those who were less fortunate in Hoboken, New Jersey. His quote shows the range of emotion that individuals were feeling in the aftermath of Sandy and is quite revealing.
“Experience started Saturday morning, as I went to City hall to offer help. The scene was a bit chaotic with a lot of volunteers and not enough leadership or direction. Eventually, we were broken up into teams of 8, and after a good hour of mulling around, sent out to distribute food, water and batteries to local residents. We were given a 4 block area in the north east part of town still without power. We basically had to go door to door to check on people, give them the military ration packs which the national guard had brought to town, and as many bottles of water they wanted. Along with that, we provided them a 1 page paper that city hall had written up which detailed where shelters were, emergency phone numbers, and info on where hot food was being distributed across town. So off we went in 2 cars filled with food water batteries and information. We went door to door for about 2 hours, and were met with a wide variety of emotions. Many were happy that others were thinking of them in these dire times, many were angry about power not being on and were taking it out on us via some unfocused anger, and many were indifferent, passing on what we were bringing to them, as they had already ventured out and gotten whatever they needed. By Saturday a decent part of town was already up and running in terms of businesses and restaurants. Many restaurants and food trucks were also giving out food for free, so those military rations were not exactly a very appetizing option for most. Some of the hard hit areas were a different story I’m sure.”
It makes us proud that we have such incredible employees here at 1E who spread sunshine to others. If you’re in New York or New Jersey, we hope you stay safe and that some sunshine is spread your way.