Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast of the United States, knocking out power, destroying homes, and devastating coastal communities. Areas of New York and New Jersey were especially hard hit, including mass devastation along the Jersey shore line and Staten Island.
In Breezy Point, Queens, more than 100 homes burned to the ground while the lights (and heat) stayed off for a long time in Lower Manhattan. In total, economists forecast the destruction from Hurricane Sandy will number between $30 and $50 billion in losses.
Cleanup has just begun in the aftermath of the large-scale devastation brought on by Sandy. It's going to take a lot of dollars, volunteer hours, and people coming together to help the beleaguered East Coast get back on its feet.
As a business, you might be at a loss as to how you can help in the face of this weather catastrophe. But whether you have five employees or you work for a Fortune 500 company, there are always ways for businesses to help with the relief efforts.
Here are some ways your business can help the recovery effort, no matter where you're located or how deep your resources go:
Volunteer in an Affected Area
If your company is located close to some of the affected areas, you might want to put aside a date and time for your workers to go out into the community. Getting out and rolling up your sleeves will allow your team to help in a concrete and hands-on fashion. This could mean volunteering to hand out hot meals at a local soup kitchen or shelter to thousands of residents without heat and power. Or your team could go out and help cleanup in the aftermath of Sandy.
Help Out a Business in Need
But handing out hot meals or cleaning up after the storm isn't the only way your business can help. In fact, you can actually help other businesses affected and displaced by the storm. The New York Tech Meetup group is offering the assistance of tech superstars to help small businesses get their websites back up and running. Look at your company's talents and see how these skills can help other businesses recover from the storm.
With power still slow to return in some regions, thousands of businesses are looking for alternative places to get together and work. If your company has a conference room you never use, you might want to consider offering space to a small business looking for a place to plug in and work. Plenty of businesses and coworking spaces are already offering their power and heat to assist companies looking to get back to work.
Hurricane Sandy didn't just displace residents and destroy homes, it also hurt blood donations. Due to hurricane disruptions, the blood supply is down at least 6,000 units. A company blood-drive is a great and easy way to help out, no matter where your company is located. You might be close enough for an in-person meeting or far enough that you'd need to conduct a video interview, but none of that matters when it comes to donating blood.
Call up your local chapter of the American Red Cross and see about taking a trip to a blood donation site or having a truck come to your office to collect blood. It's a simple, yet highly effective, way to help.
Many people lost everything they once possessed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. More troubling, in the aftermath of Sandy temperatures began to dive while millions shivered without power.
A food and clothing drive is an easy way to help out those most impacted by the hurricane. Get employees to bring in old clothes and warm winter coats for those without homes or power. Best of all, you don't need to be next door to the hardest hit areas in order to donate useful supplies.
Organize a Charity Walk
A charity walk is a great way to raise funds that can be donated to organizations helping recovery efforts, while at the same time encouraging employee bonding. Plus a charity walk is a company-wide effort all workers can take part in. Volunteering together will make your team feel better about helping while also boosting employee morale. Now your workers aren't just pitching in together on a big project, they're also pitching in together to show their support for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy might seem overwhelming, but there are always things your company can do to help. Whether you're lending a helping hand to a business in need or collecting warm coats, every little bit helps. As a bonus, by helping those in need you'll also be helping to boost your workers' morale and engagement.
What are some ways your business is helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? Share in the comments!
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.