By Terry Hayes, Vice President and General Manager Northeast Region and Marty Pisciotti, Vice President and General Manager Great Valley Region
In late October, “Superstorm Sandy,” crashed into the Northeast with shocking and ferocious force. As leaders of T-Mobile’s Northeast and Great Valley Regions, which encompass all of the areas that were most hard-hit by the storm, we were stunned by the unprecedented flooding and wind damage that had such a devastating effect on so many people.
At T-Mobile, we saw it firsthand as many of our own employees in the area were severely impacted by the storm.
In recent weeks, we’ve been very proud of some of the things we’ve been able to do to assist in Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. Here are a few stories.
Partnering With Community FoodBank of New Jersey
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey distributes 39 million pounds of food and groceries each year, helping to support approximately 900,000 people in 18 New Jersey counties. But the FoodBank has been challenged to keep up with the incredible need throughout New Jersey. T-Mobile employee Angela Porter-Williams had a vision to help. In less than two weeks, she worked together with her colleagues and the food bank to provide food, clothing, and cleaning supplies to thousands of New Jersey residents.
T-Mobile’s donations included 14,000 pounds of food contained in 500 boxes, 1,700 cleaning supply items, almost 100 winter coats for school children, and about 250 pairs of gloves given directly to eleven school principals for distribution within area schools. In addition, T-Mobile provided a cash donation for another $10,000 to the FoodBank. Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford declared that day “T-Mobile Day.” While we thank the Mayor for that, we think it should have been declared “Neighbors’ Day.” To be sure, these were T-Mobile employees who helped. But many are also New Jersey residents, friends, and neighbors.
Charging Phones in the Rockaways
A peninsula extending from the Southwestern end of Long Island, the Rockaways, was hit harder than most by Superstorm Sandy. With power still out weeks after the storm and a curfew that forbade many people from staying in their own homes overnight, there was no question that people needed help in the Rockaways. One thing they needed desperately was a way to charge their phones so they could stay in touch with loved ones, friends, and emergency assistance services.
T-Mobile brought in two coach buses and a T-Mobile Branded RV each capable of charging 50 phones at a time, and we quickly discovered that “community” can be found in the most unusual of circumstances. Rather than just letting people charge their phones and stand in the cold, we invited them into our RV. We hooked up televisions and played movies while phones were being charged.
Staying in Touch in New Jersey Red Cross Shelters
Shortly after the storm hit, T-Mobile reached out to the American Red Cross to see what we could do to help in shelters they had established throughout the state of New Jersey. We provided hundreds of cell phones, pre-loaded with wireless service, to every single shelter in the state. Additionally, T-Mobile donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross’s storm relief efforts. We also opened up text-to-give opportunities, enabling T-Mobile customers to donate as well. To help spur even more giving via text messages, we said we would match the next $100,000 donated by our customers. Guess what? It took our customers only two days to donate that amount, triggering another $100,000 donation from T-Mobile. And our customers are still donating. All told, T-Mobile and our customers have now donated more than $850,000 to Red Cross relief efforts.
We couldn’t be more proud of the way T-Mobile employees and customers continue to help communities in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.