Sunday began at Brooklyn Boulders, where the Relief Squad learned just how strong Goal Zero Nation can be. Overwhelmed with the task of unloading and organizing product into useable kits, the team put out a call for volunteers through Twitter and Facebook and received much-welcomed help from two outstanding volunteers, Colter and Sarah.
It was quickly decided the team needed to be in two places at once, at Brooklyn Boulders preparing kits to deliver later in the week, and the Rockaways, NY, with Team Rubicon, one of the areas hardest hit during the storm. With days of work required to assemble necessary kits, a second call was made to Occupy Sandy Relief, who became an incredible asset to the Goal Zero Relief Squad.
Squad member Jaremy writes, “I was looking at a job that was going to take days to complete with our team of a couple guys, but within half an hour I had a crew of 15 volunteers who walked in off the street. For the next several hours they helped unload the truck, sort the gear, label it, and build it into usable kits for distribution. We then loaded the truck back up for tomorrow’s deliveries and they walked out into the night. It was absolutely amazing! Can’t say enough about what they’ve done!”
In contrast to the brightly lit confines of Brooklyn Boulder, the Goal Zero Relief Squad experienced a dramatic shift of scenery when they arrived at the Rockaways. Streets that should have been beautiful with fall colors were a dreary monotone of grey mud and sand. As crowds gathered around the Goal Zero Relief Squad’s minivan, it was all-too apparent the devastation these people had seen over the last several days. Families were forced to retreat to the upper levels of their homes while water poured into their living rooms and kitchens. Cars were violently swept down the streets during storm surges and oceanside docks and walkways were carried over a quarter mile away from the water.
Relief Squad member James recounts, “I cannot even explain in words how heart breaking it was. All the houses in this area were slammed with the storm surge and completely flooded. This was a huge eye opener for us since we have never seen destruction like this before.”
With the help of numerous volunteers, the Goal Zero Relief Squad emptied their minivan of kits in well-under an hour. And slowly but surely, houses that were dark and cold for days were coming to life with bright light and activity.
Despite the storm-ravaged physical state of the Rockaways, its generous people became a shining beacon for the Relief Squad. This is Laura’s story, retold by Dave, one of the Goal Zero Sandy Relief Squad members:
“Just after arriving at an assistance point we were talking to a few of the coordinators about our plans. As we strategized, a woman in her late 70s approached us and spoke two words that broke my heart, ‘please help.’ Laura had grown up in Rockaway and her basement held seven feet of water just a day. We offered her an Escape 150 and a Light-a-Life, hoping they might help. She took us to her home so we could show her husband our gift. They were both covered head to toe in mud as they gutted their downstairs. I was shocked to see the inside of their house, stripped to the frame throughout the lower level. They loved the Light-a-Life. One little light can make all the difference on a cold dark night. They told us about the devastation, the water filling their house, their children who had lost everything and were bringing rations of gas for their generator. As Laura’s husband began to mention the kindness of those who came to help, complete strangers, a flood of emotion overwhelmed him. He began crying, she began crying, and I did all I could in vain not to join them. A few minutes and more than a few hugs later we had to leave. This amazing couple who just lost so much had invited us into their home and into their hearts. I was floored by their kindness as they offered us a bottle of wine covered in mud. This single experience made the entire trip worth it.”
As the Goal Zero Relief Squad continues to bring power and lights to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, we continue to call upon all of those in Goal Zero Nation. It doesn’t matter how far away you live, you can help us be a power of good in these dark times.
Special Thanks To:
Aaron and every single team member of Team Rubicon, for allowing us to partner up with them on the ground.
Levi at Interide Logistics, all the Goal Zero product wouldn’t be on the ground without them.
Marcus at Brooklyn Boulders, they let us store our product closer to the areas most affected and are giving us a roof over our heads.
The awesome volunteers at Occupy Sandy Relief. They saved us days of work.
Colter and Sarah of answering our call for help on Facebook and Twitter.
Orefield Cold Storage, for allowing us to store our products in Allentown, PA.
Eric at Stew’s Tire of Orefield, for fixing the tire for free so we could get out to the affected areas.