The HammockSource assists professional organization with Hurricane Sandy relief
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, January 17, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, hammock manufacturer The HammockSource spent the month of December helping its local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management collect and ship donations for those still recovering in New Jersey.
Jennifer Marks, left, Vickie Williford and Theresa Bullock, members of the North Carolina Coastal Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, uncover a Sesame Street plush toy in one of two huge boxes of donated items their organization recently sent to New Jersey to aid fellow SHRM members hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Members of SHRM's North Carolina Coastal Chapter sprang to action after learning how profoundly many of their own counterparts in coastal New Jersey had been impacted by the storm.
"A lot of our people there lost everything," said outgoing NCCSHRM President Jennifer Marks, a benefits analyst at Vidant Health in Greenville.
Just after the holidays, NCCSHRM sent off two sizable care packages to a newly partnered relief agency in coastal New Jersey, to help ease the day-to-day struggles of the SHRM organization's most hurricane-battered members there.
"So many of our people in New Jersey thought they'd have homes to go to by now," Marks said. "Yet so many of them have since seen their houses condemned. And then the holidays, of course, made everything even tougher on them."
The national SHRM organization formally asked its U.S. chapters to make it a priority through the holidays to aid those most upended by the storm.
The NCCSHRM emailed its roughly 175 members a list of the most needed relief items. Word of the North Carolina Coastal Chapter's commitment to helping disaster-struck New Jersey SHRM members quickly spread to other regional North Carolina SHRM affiliates, including the Raleigh/Wake Chapter, and fellow eastern North Carolinians the Golden East Chapter. Both added their own contributions to their sister agency's charitable giving. Even a few regional businesses with SHRM staff members jumped in, adopting NCCSHRM's relief efforts as their organizations' own holiday charity initiatives.
NCCSHRM got all its donations together in the latter half of December, finding itself with two oversized boxes packed with new blankets, sheets, towels, pillows, clothing, toiletries, nonperishable food items, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, a few toys, several hundred dollars in gas cards, gifts cards to national chain stores and restaurants, and more than $500 in cash contributions.
NCCSHRM member Theresa Bullock, human resources manager at The HammockSource, recalls being overcome by the volume of donations.
"When I first saw everything all together, it made me want to cry," she said.
All gift cards ended up being sent to a group of about 100 Amish construction workers temporarily relocated from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to gut and rebuild damaged homes. The gift cards helped defray some of the workers' personal costs.
Project Paul, a community outreach ministry in the New Jersey coastal town of Keansburg, was tapped to handle distribution of all other donated items.
Bullock approached her own company's executive staff to see if The HammockSource, which routinely ships all over the world, would be willing to coordinate getting the donated items to New Jersey. In the end, the Greenville family company stepped up to cover all shipping costs as well.
"It was just the right thing to do," said Reid Roney, HammockSource VP of sales.
"This really was a pay-it-forward kind of thing," Marks said, "because you just never know what might happen in your own hometown."
The Society for Human Resources Management, the largest professional organization devoted to human resources management, numbers more than 250,000 members spanning 140 countries.