One of the most rewarding aspects of our job as field marketers is our capability to GIVE. Hundreds of thousands have expressed their gratitude when sipping our complimentary coconut water at fundraisers, or guzzling ONE down after a 10k or marathon. Beyond the field, the consciousness continues: homeless people are often slipped ONE in passing; shelters and fire-stations receive surprise cases dropped off at their doors.
How it’s engrained in our awareness, and everyday approach to life, became most apparent in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our local ONE team members have taken it upon themselves to help those in need.
After incurring an upwards of $30k in damage to his Westchester home, ONE’S own Michael Katz recruited other ONE team members Jennifer Ponce, Jonathon Hatton, and Fay Serafico. Together they packed Ponce’s SUV, and the ONE company vehicle with 50 cases of ONE coconut water, bags of clothes, blankets, food, home goods, matches, batteries, toiletries, and other necessities, and began their journey through the streets of Queens, Rockaway, and Howard Beach.
As the team drove deeper into the affected areas conditions were increasingly worse. In Ozone Park, things were rough; storefronts destroyed, power lines down, and sand flooding the sidewalks and streets. At the American Legion in Rockaway it was much more devastating, “There was an out-pouring of much needed volunteers providing water, food, and clothing to people who truly needed it who lost everything” said Katz. The stranded, unfortunately, could not even make it to these makeshift help centers.
At the next stop the ONE team joined neighborhood citizens who had set-up their own surrogate food service areas offering hot food and water in the sandy and debris filled streets. The Saint Francis Shelter was next, where according to Katz “things started going from really bad to eye-opening movie-scene worse.” Demolished houses…rows of tractors dumping rubble from flood damaged, and mutilated, homes…dismantled docks…disfigured fences…butchered boats…and crushed furniture stacked the streets.
Their last stop pitched them as deep into Broad Channel as possible –where most of the help was/is needed. Here they set up their main donation tables in front of 47th Battalion Fire House, next door to the police barricade/area at 96th Ave. Other then the distressed, the only people able to even get to this area needed police permission. A centralized effort was being made here: Verizon had supplied a mobile charging station, and Police, City Harvest, Fire Department, FEMA, and others offered water, food, and clothing -- not nearly enough.
The following day another ONE rep, Shante Crews, traveled all the way from Philly to the directly impacted South Shore area of Staten Island.. Here, Crews donated cases of ONE Coconut Water to a makeshift church mission on the road and borrowed a supermarket cart and distributed cases of coconut water door to door to many of the homes in the neighborhood off of 192 Ebbits Street.
What our ONE team experienced was person to person examples of how we pull together as a community in a time of need. There were a notable number of American flags flying, obviously placed post-storm. Yet no election talk was heard; the usual debate you’d normally hear/engage in around this time was overshadowed by something much more powerful. The flags, instead, symbolized all the helpful and proud Americans reaching out to one another; a unified community undistracted by impending polls and policies.
“We gave out everything to people who seemed more grateful then I've seen,” Katz summarized of his experience. “Humbling experience to say the least, I feel very lucky and blessed to have not taken the brunt of the damage.” We are truly grateful to all those to helped the ONE team in their efforts, and those who tirelessly extend their good will to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
WAYS TO HELP!
ONE is also donating 4,400 cases of coconut water to Feed the Children, a charity that is using its resources to help get food into the effected Hurricane Sandy area. http://www.feedthechildren.org
The American Red Cross and Americares charities are providing large scale support and are in need of online donations. http://www.americares.org/ or http://www.redcross.org/