I Im still not sure exactly how this all happened. It started with a cup of co ee on my front porch on the Monday after Hurricane Harvey hit like a demon in Southeast Texas. I had to do something.
So, I put the power of our Facebook pages, and our local magazine’s following to work. And, man, did it take o . I put it out early on Monday morning about helping the Texas ood victims. Heck, I was just hoping to get a few things down there over a 10-day period. Well, that changed. It all went way faster than that.
Within a few hours, James from Absolute Bluestone called me and said he would be our driver. Wow, a tractor trailer driver willing to do a trip to Texas from Jersey? He said he would need fuel paid for and that would be expensive. Hmmm, OK. Now, all kinds of concerns start coming into play. But, my gut said go with it. Then the message that REALLY was a game changer. I connected with Carly Ringer through Facebook. She’s a local real estate agent for Keller Williams. I knew of her, never met her. She said she would coordinate the e ort. She had done this before during Superstorm Sandy in Hoboken. That was good enough for me. My gut said, go with it. And my gut reaction was right. Beyond.
Then I coordinated business drop o locations, a funding site to pay for travel expenses. Carly moved everything up to a one-day centralized location at the Manasquan Elks so every business and donator could bring their gathered donations to our huge 44-foot container. Thank you, Crist Containers! This turned out to be a great move. It gave us a focus. A time frame, a location. Now, we were ready to rock.
08742 Living and Manasquan Life’s Facebook pages went viral. Within 4 days, we had over 3000 shares and 200,000+ views of our original post. Crazy. Crazy good!.News 12 called. Considering I am another media, this is a cool thing. Me- dia outlets rarely will help each other. Radio stations were calling. But, we were doing just ne with social media. I then got a call from Joe from Joe Leone’s to partner with them in their e orts to ll trucks full of water and take them to our location in Georgetown, Texas. Joe and I met, and we laid the ground rules. We decided to follow the trucks to Texas. And so, it began. This was a concerted e ort between both groups to get as much down to the a ected areas, as we could. It just made sense.
Tons of volunteers chimed in over the next few days to lend a hand. How about 275 of them?
Carly, The Organizer, The Delegator and “everyone must have a task if they are here” Ringer went into full coordinator mode. We lled a tractor trailer full of diapers, toiletries, blankets, socks, underwear, cleaning supplies and pillows. EVERY item was boxed, labeled and palletized. IN ONE DAY. We had more donated goods than we had space. So much more, that we gave a chunk of it to the Sons of the Shillelagh in Belmar. Wow. With the addition of Joe Leone’s water campaign, that turned out to be another 4 tractor trailers of just water, 1 tractor trailer full of donated goods, and a Penske 26-foot box truck full donated items and water. That’s 108 pallets of water and another 26 pallets of donated goods!
Now, we’re o to Georgetown, Texas. We thought the best thing to do was follow those trailers down to see all the donations dropped o and help the local volunteers get it o the trucks and sorted out. 1, 700 miles. That’s further than you think, until you make the trip. That’s three overnights with tractor trailer drivers. That’s the law.
There is no heart swell like the one you get when you see 100 volunteers cheering and clapping for you as the convoy of goods rolled into Celebra- tion Church in Georgetown, Texas. This was no small church. This looked more like a small community college. Buildings were huge. Parking lots were everywhere. And there was nothing but space everywhere you looked. A New Jersey land developer’s dream! The people were great and so grateful. There is nothing like giving back. Helping. Lending a hand to your fellow man. It exceeds many personal feats that I have per- sonally accomplished in life. It just feels good. My soul smiled that day. No emoji could recreate that emotion.
Unloading the goods went smooth. A few pallets shifted and needed some redoing, but otherwise a sound transfer. The church resembled your local Costco. Tons of items strategically organized to make their next drop o right to people in need. In Houston and Corpus Christie speci cally. We were told that some pallets of toiletries get dropped o onto local street corners and people just take what they need. Seems like the best way in times like these. Lastly, I just want to thank everybody involved who put the time in to help others. The dedication to getting this done, in ONE DAY, is amazing. Thank you!