We are in an awesome industry where everyone cares about one another. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we can see this in how our industry works together to make a difference in the lives of others.
Natural disasters negatively affect personal lives and disrupt business operations. Before Hurricane Sandy, there was Hurricane Katrina, Midwest tornados and, in my neighborhood, the devastating Northridge earthquake that caused incredible damage.
Mike Michalowicz wrote an excellent article entitled "How I Ran My Business from a Hurricane Shelter". He refers to this storm as Hurricane Sandra, choosing to call her by her full name, noting that he is a parent and he’s mad at her. For him and thousands of other businesses, services may have come to a halt, but business has not.
When these disasters happen, various humanitarian organizations step up to help. The promotional products industry, through associations like the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) and Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) are making a very real difference helping those affected by this tragedy.
The Regional Association Council (RAC), created 15 for the Fund, a business recovery Fund, long before this recent disaster. Here’s a video that talks a bit about this program.
One PPAI distributor member who lost their office in Hurricane Sandy contacted PPAI and was connected with a supplier company. The supplier opened their doors and provided office space so the distributor could function in the aftermath of the storm.
In the New York area, members of SAAGNY have been hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. They have responded quickly, mobilizing to make a difference in their communities. In times like this, it isn’t about selling stuff, supplier/distributor issues or dealing with the things that typically frustrate us. It’s about the reality of life and responding to the challenges life throws at us.
Many suppliers have stepped up to help. Companies have donated apparel, blankets, umbrellas, bags, flashlights, lip balm, hand sanitizer and stuffed animals, for the kids. Imagine the impact losing a home has on young children?
Regardless of your location, YOU have the opportunity to help. SAAGNY and the SAAGNY Foundation are taking action. They have moved quickly helping to meet the many needs of those affected by this disaster.
SAAGNY is forming teams to be the “feet on the street” in 5 locations: the Jersey Shore; Long Beach, N.Y.; Rockaway, N.Y.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Staten Island, N.Y. These teams will be coordinating with local groups to get products and manpower where they are needed. Since they don’t have deep pockets, they want to focus on a few places where they can actually make a difference. It’s sort of like “adopting” a town.
One company has generously donated warehouse space in Neptune, N.J. to store the donations they receive. From here items can be sorted and donated.
SAAGNY and The SAAGNY Foundation have pledged $2500 each to seed the Hurricane Relief Fund and all donations will go directly to the relief efforts—buying cleaning supplies, Gatorade or whatever is needed at the time.
Donations have come from various industry groups and individuals.
You are invited to help. Jonathan Riegel, MAS, Executive Director of SAAGNY offers these options for being a part of the relief efforts:
Product Donations: The location to send them somewhat depends on what it is that is being sent. We have had a couple of suppliers ship us skid loads of items. Those are going to a warehouse in N.J. Smaller items are being shipped to the SAAGNY office for distribution to Queens and Long Island. I would suggest that you ask potential donors to email SAAGNY and we will let you know where to send it. We are also somewhat limited in what we can accept. It is becoming harder to find relief centers that will accept clothing and even harder to find those still accepting used clothing. We need to coordinate that part.
Financial Donations: Currently two options are in place. The first is to go to the SAAGNY website, and print and fax a donation form to the SAAGNY office. Or you can write a check and mail it to the office address below. We are in the process of setting up the foundation website and PayPal account so people can make donations online as well. The other option is donors can send us gift cards for Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco or BJs. All donations, cash or gift cards will be used to purchase supplies that are needed in the relief and recovery centers in N.J., New York City and Long Island. All cash donations to The SAAGNY Foundation are tax deductible and acknowledgement letters will be sent to all donors.
188 Broadway, Suite 2
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. 07677
201.505.9550 - Fax: 201.505.9520
SAAGNY is open to any ideas on how to make this effort better. If you are in the area, you are invited to be part of the team. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know. For more information, you can also contact Rhonda Blum, CAS, SAAGNY foundation president at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 973.442.0412.
The SAAGNY Foundation is making a difference, which in turn puts a positive light on our industry. For all the heat we take as sellers of swag, we are actually a community of people who care about helping each other.
Jeff Solomon, MAS- MASI is affiliated with a large distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don’t miss out on what’s happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook and follow them on twitter. Jeff can also be found on Linkedin.