Shore Up New Jersey: Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Shore Up New Jersey: Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

I wanted to take a few minutes and let all of you know about an organization I had the pleasure and honor of working with recently.  I have worked with similar organizations previously however there was something truly special about this organization.  This organization was Heavenly Driven Disaster Relief website here.

About HDDR

Basically HDDR is a non-profit organization which want to help people afflicted by disasters, they have been all over the world working in disaster areas trying to help people clean up and rebuild their lives.  At the center of this ministry is Albert Knight, he is a contractor with a passion for helping people.  He coordinates volunteer teams of all skill levels to complete the work that is being done under the organization.  While HDDR is a Christian Organization they do not require volunteers have an affiliation with a specific church or even religion.  People of all faiths and lifestyles are encouraged to get involved.  Another thing that HDDR does differently is they really try to defray some of the costs of your participation in the relief efforts.  They are able to provide housing and food for groups, leaving you with only the costs associated with getting there.

About Al

We came to work, and to be honest Al didn’t expect alot from us, all he really wanted was 8AM – 4PM so he was surprised when our crew went back out after dinner (most nights) to finish up some jobs.  But the really important thing for you to understand about Al, is that he really burns for this ministry.  While this is in his backyard.  This is by no means without sacrifice for him.  Al has a home in Philadelphia, PA but during the week he is living with the volunteers in Atlantic City, NJ so that they can get an early start.

Lessons Learned

Al runs a really tight ship.  We lead a team of 9 to New Jersey from Dallas, TX.  This was a 25-27 hour drive.  We had two pickups one of which was packed to the gills with tools and gear.  Looking back we brought too much.  Al already had most everything that was needed.  That said I would recommend that everyone who plans on going forget all of the tools that they think they will need (Al has all of those) and instead focus on having a basic toolkit for each member of your team.

  • Tool Belt / Leathers
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Carpenters Pencils (at least 3)
  • Utility Knife or Break-Away Razor
  • 1 each Phillips and Standard Screwdriver
  • Work Boots (steel toe)

Now had we packed the above we would have needed one storage box which could have held all of these, instead of half of a pick-up bed.  And honestly the only other things that we used were things that Al already had (skil saw, nail gun, miter saw) but we used ours because the pickup was 10 feet closer than the trailer.

How Can I Help?

Oh here it comes, the part where he tries to pry money out of my wallet…  Honestly though, HDDR and Al don’t want your money.  But they do need your skilled or unskilled labor.  They really can work with all skill levels, and they will put you to work at a level where you feel comfortable and challenged, so you won’t just be picking up garbage.  He takes the time to show you what to do, and then he lets you run and do it.  Now all that said if you are not able to give of your time but you’d like to give of your resources instead they will be more than happy to receive that donation and will make sure that it is maximized.  You have a couple of options…

  1. Buy a shirt or sweater on the HDDR website
  2. Make a cash donation, or a donation of specific supplies and gift cards
  3. HDDR is working on getting PayPal set up so that they can streamline the donation process, in the interim if you’d like to make a donation to them through my site using the link on the bottom of this post please feel free to do so.  Note: if you choose to do so please understand that I will forward the money to HDDR as quickly as possible (I would guess they should be able to have it inside of a week and a half based on clearing times) and I encourage you to coordinate with HDDR to ensure that the money is received (and that you get all appropriate tax receipts).

The Videos

We had some guys with us who are creative geniuses who were able to capture quite a bit of great footage and edit it together into daily videos.