Post Hurricane Sandy- The day of lines
Thanks everyone for your well wishes post-hurricane Sandy. The S'well team is back up and running, and the office and all team members have power and water again.
We are lucky for sure, but some of our very near neighbors in New York and the Northeast Region are not so lucky. As of this morning, roughly 676,000 are still without power in the Northeast. This is a surely progress from from the peak of roughly 8.6 million in the dark just one week ago. However, there are many really hurting from the storm, still without the basic necessities of daily life such as food and a hot shower, power or the Internet. Many friends and neighbors still cannot return home, nor do they have an idea when their flooded or damaged buildings will be inhabitable again.
As the S'well team got back to work this week, we struggled with the survivors guilt that we were all just fine, when just a few blocks away normal life will be slow to return. As we sat huddled in our still-freezing downtown office, wearing our winter coats indoors, we wanted to give back to our friends still out in the cold. So we cleared our calendars, packed up all the S'well bottles we had in our office and headed to our local coffee shop, Think Coffee, which was kind enough to donate as much hot coffee as we could give away. We deployed our network of Swell pals and a new friend picked up the team and our bounty to drive us to the areas still in the dark. If your ever seen the (note: terrible) movie 'Escape From New York', that's what it still feels like in parts of the city- a second society that's now changed forever.
We drove until we arrived at the first shelter that was listed as a place in need of warn provisions and supplies. There was a long orderly line out the door patiently waiting in the freezing cold. To our heart's glee we discovered that those waiting were not homeless, or the "Refugees" as the displaced New Yorkers are calling themselves, but this long line was actuality made up of volunteers waiting to sign in an help bring supplies to those in need. (note: awesome) So we drove on to the next long line that we found, staffed by those helpful volunteers, we found a line of bundled masses waiting outside a distribution center to receive flashlights, batteries, warm blankets and anything else they could find to help ease their return to the dark of their homes just blocks away. I was struck by just how many kids were in line. As we passed out cases of S'wells full of piping hot coffee and tea, every recipient said a heartfelt thank you.
In talking with the volunteers, we learned that many of the delivery vehicles coming into the city with needed supplies have been delayed due to still-flooded tunnels, and in many cases, the needed supplies simply don't exist within driving distance, since so many of the outlying areas to the City are in even worse shape. Driving back to our office, we passed many more lines, some wrapping around full city blocks, with no end in sight. These final lines of the day were lines of voters for the Presidential election. It was odd to see so many uniformed police officers overseeing the queue, however these lines were silent and orderly. Hundreds of New Yorkers, uncharacteristically patient, waiting for hours out in the cold to vote. I only wished we had even more S'wells filled with hot drinks to share. Regardless of your views on the election results, it is great to see so many neighbors caring about the future of our country enough to line up for hours to cast their vote. If you are in the Northeast, you know that another major winter storm is expected to strike today. The S'well team wishes everyone in the path of this storm warm thoughts and safety.
If you are not in this affected part of the world, thank you for considering giving to the American Red Cross to help assist those in need. I can assure you that there are many New Yorkers that are really struggling still and would be so appreciative of your assistance. Sending warm thoughts to all, and so appreciative of all those helping out their neighbors in need.
Posted in Swell Actions