Tag Archive for Relief Effort

How Can I Help Nepal NOW?

A while back, I approached a long time former tape trading pal about writing for the blog to bring an air of adventure to my page for my readers. My friend Kevin is a scientist and lives in Alaska last I checked but his work has him traveling to all sorts of places you might not dare to. I wanted to share that with you. He agreed to do so – but as life gets in between everything you want to do for leisure, other things pop up. Here a few years later – I’ve received an email from him after lightly learning about his new relief endeavors abroad. I wish to share some insights to his work and projects that involve rebuilding sustainable infrastructures in these damaged parts of our world. Here are his words and if you would – follow these links he’s embedded for you. They will tell you more stories about individuals and campaigns at the SOURCE. My customers know this is vital to my business but also assuring that money, hard earned money – goes where it should when it comes to charitable giving. Our relief efforts here on the Jersey Shore with the GO HOME SANDY operation moved a few small mountains. The power of networking helps people all over the world rebuild their lives. We hope to continue to highlight Kevin’s efforts, peers and adventures as we ask that our supporters, support them too! Please read his email to me and visit the links underlined. Share and support! XOBK
Almost as good as earthing - @handmaderopesandals played in the garden this evening for a bit getting the mounds all ready for seedlings! Don't forget about the big loop contest a few photos back and my regular Saturday Auction tomorrow at 11 or so. What are you growing this season?!
“Well, I am not a writer, but I have a story for you to tell if you were so inclined.  I know I told you about the Moringa. {A sustainable plant we spoke about for cosmetics}   But how much detail did I give you about our nonprofit organization?  So, obviously from my FB posts I am raising money for Nepal and Haiti.  Let me tell you exactly what we are doing.  A buddy, Jonathan Noggle, and I started up a nonprofit organization called 
We had an initial response to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.  That lead us to revisiting a concept that Noggle had for Haiti back in 2010.  We made a few phone calls, that lead to an impromptu visit to Haiti, all of which culminated in a partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s E2E Haiti Program.  There we are providing a much need training role for Construction Quality Assurance alongside E2E as they put together their redevelopment plan. We plan to have a Graduate Level Intern on the ground in Leogane Haiti for several months this summer.  More recently we were contacted by a group of Nepalese Diaspora made up of Engineers, IT Professionals, a CFO of a Construction Company and others, all with obvious local connections within Nepal in the same fields including government level officials.  They have asked us to put together a team to address the reconstruction issues they will face.  The destruction is widespread and help is needed everywhere, but the particular group of people we have fallen in with are connected to a place called the Tsum Valley.  This is a remote Himal valley with an indigenous population of about 4000 Tsumba people.  Two of the members of our team are from a village called Ripchet. 
Here is Ripchet prior to the quake:
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This picture was taken several minutes after the quake:
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Team members Rinzin Lama, Head of the Tsum Society Youth Club, and Sonam Lama, A professor in Kathmandu with a special degree in Emergency Architecture from Germany, both left yesterday for the long journey to their village for assessment and preparations due to the approaching Monsoon Season.  They both have crowd sourcing campaigns. 
The village of Ripchet is a day drive west of Kathmandu followed by five days of trekking/hiking when the trail was good.  The earthquake heavily damaged portions of the trail, hindering current relief efforts. 
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 There was an American Woman, Sandy Kyin, on a 3-week trek through the valley when the quake hit.  She happened to be in Ripchet.  Take some time to read her story.  She also has a GoFundMe campaign – Sandy Kyin
Under her her Update #2 to her campaign you see Good News #1 she discusses a group of professionsal.  WEare that group of professionals she is talking about and she also links to the other two groups I linked above.  We have been in communication with her since that update about needs and coordination.  Actually we had a skype call planned with her early this morning, but this most recent “aftershock” caused disruption of some communications so we postponed the call. We have talked to all of our other team members in Nepal and they are safe. In any event, that is where we are now.
What do you think?  Can you make this into a blog?  I am not a writer or a sales person or a very good self-promoter.  I need help getting this story out!!!  How can I get this story out so we can raise the money to help Tsum?  We need money to mobilize VSI and have an 
IndieGoGo campaign   for that purpose on our main website.  I am planning to go to Nepal in the next few weeks regardless and this is out of pocket, so please 
We have a long term 5-10 year plan to begin to train and import innovative techniques during the reconstruction.  Our time in Haiti has taught us the need for a long term, Sustainable, Local, Scalable model that can be passed on through education in order to prevent recurrence of these disasters.  As a start-up nonprofit we have zero funds other than personal and our 501c3 is pending.  We also need money for the three other groups we are currently working with on this project.  It will certainly be a team effort and as we get organized our missions will begin resource sharing on the ground in a part of the world that started with limited resources.  Let me know if you think you can help get our story out to people that can help us. 

Go Home Sandy


So… where to begin?

I am so bad with blogs. I don’t know what the supposed expected time to report in is, but I fall off.
Since I last posted, I was in a bubble of marital, honeymooner and newlywed bliss.
Now, life sort of feels post apocalyptic. Well not really anymore, but it did for about 3 weeks.
The dust seems to be settling now from the effects we felt here at the good ol Jersey Shore from Frankenstorm Sandy.
Anyone who knows us personally, knows we are “on the water folk”. We ourselves do not live on the water, but we do have a family shore house that is in fact on a lagoon as well as another family property directly on the bay.
Needless to say – if you had property within a mile of water in our area – your house likely was flooded and thus destroyed.
We ourselves sustained minimal damages, however riding the storm itself drained us, but the shore house, now thats another story.  We lost power for a few days and had to endure some spiritual issues facing such new challenges – due to being with the baby in prolonged cold we bugged out to a dear friends who had power and plenty of duties and supplies to help us fit in with their family. Meanwhile, my husband and his family are salvaging their lives in piles of rubble.
I felt so helpless staying behind with the kids  as my husband went to work by day on that tiny laptop for a few hours then changed into silt and bay soaked clothes to help his family tired over their huge piles of shit. I hadn’t seen any newscasts, or heard any radio reports save for catching Gov. Christie speak while charging my phone in the car. In fact, having to actually use our emergency plan – awarded me the insight to all of our weaknesses in our emergency kit * No Radio.(I was RAISED smarter than that, doh) * No Alternative Power Source. We had gas range, so yes hot water, yes cooking but no heat, and no alt energy from anything but the car.
The first night at our friends house I hopped online and saw an areal video of our beach. The beach I have different color badges for, from the last 5 years on my beach bag, Mantaloking. It was totally demolished. Sometimes we dont understand the magnitude of something without a visual. I had a broken foot once and it magically didn’t hurt so much until I saw the Xray with the break. Somehow – it hurt so much after then. Funny how that is, but once I saw the Mantaloking Bridge to no where my heart caught on fire. I started to dig a little further a realized shit, the place I got married a month ago was demolished too in Point Pleasant. Really. Just a picture now.
The morning we were heading back home to power my husband let me go home ahead of him and he stayed behind with the baby at our friends so I could have a moments peace. The baby did not do well with so much upset to his routine but he did learn a lot from everything just like the rest of us, including how to make an amazing pot of coffee.  I decided to go to the grocery store before going home, I knew we had just nothing fresh to eat.  As I walked through the store and looking around it looked scary and sad. There was a man in front of me pushing a cart with no shoes on, hair all over the place. I just imagined that he had come out of one of the flooded neighborhoods. I turned down the dairy isle and there was 1 loaf of bread on my right and garbage bags taped over all the fridges and freezer. There was no meat, no cheese, no milk, yogurt, frozen items, nothing fresh….at all. The produce was all wilted and picked through…it was so strange. Tears streamed down my face pushing that shopping cart – my first moment alone and here I am in the middle of the grocery store crying. I found some almond milk for the baby and hoped for the best and just got out of there.
Feeling too untouched, to unscathed – I put out a simple call to arms on facebook.
It’s funny, you really never know anyone. Truly you don’t know anyone, but you know what they do, right…?
add it up – it all counts
I run a business from home and I am developing an independent career – I believe in myself and my talents but I can’t sit by and watch people SUFFER around me and do nothing – it goes against who I am, and what I want my business to represent. There is nothing more impressive to me, then a person who works hard and gets results. The other thing that impresses me is how far a person will go in their generosity with no other reason, agenda or what have you but just to be generous.
The wave of kindness, the show of arms and support that my friends, and people I don’t even know but just HAPPEN to know this person who knows that person who happens to think I’m swell have given to us is incredible and eye opening.
So thanks to donations, to people literally connecting with each other across city and state lines to entrust US with essential living supplies, with snacks, with medicine, with clothing, blankets, baby supplies, coats, coffee, toiletries, reusable shopping bags, cleaning supplies, money…. the list goes on…we have been able to filter these goods exactly where they need to go due to intelligence we’ve gained from our friends, our family, our networks and our beloved volunteers.  Thanks to items that have been donated, we have made several huge donation drops to countless churches, relief organizations and groups in the Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant and Toms River Areas. We have sent no less than 10 individualized care boxes of essential living and clean up supplies as well as food, blankets and clothing to individuals and families who have lost almost if not everything. We have a target group of families with children who suffered massive losses and have provided them with food, formula, diapers, toiletries… you name it. In addition to this we are running mobile relief services of snacks, coffee, utility items and gloves to workers in neighborhoods most heavily hit by Sandy. This service will run through the winter on heavy work days – which is usually the weekends. We are also cooking hot meals for our volunteers and extended family almost every night and providing endless coffee to them as well.
We are gathering toys to drop to specific organizations for the holidays. Lastly I am starting the T shirt bracelet campaign back up and this run will have strips of blue and denim woven in to represent floodwaters and tears but also our strength and passion for this place.
I am dwindling down to the last boxes of food and clothes that were donated and I am beginning to see our furniture again. It does feel good to have space again but it also makes me turn my head into other methods of raising support for the people who need it here and there is talk of a benefit a little down the road. We LOVE volunteers, and creative ideas – if you want to help us, all you need is an idea to run with and we will provide you plenty of support.
Special thanks to the individuals who have stepped up in so many ways to make this possible – I know I will miss people if I try to list them all – but I will name a few people that I consider SUPERSTARS for how far they’ve bent backwards to get us HELP in the clutch –
Shawnee and Mark Thomas
Lisa Fogarty Kaczynski
Frank Malovic
Kelli and Kris Panjeshahi
Shelli and Dan Martinez
Tracy McGuigan
Terra and Stephen Kroll
Heather Juno
Elaine Hill
BB and Kimster
Debbie and Gregg DeSibour
Rommy and Kevin Coleman
Corinne Casella
The Pagnotta Family
Elaine Hill
Paige Libby
Carla Danca
Steve Corley
Melissa Suescan -Franco, Jessica Taylor, Casey Quigley and company
I KNOW I am missing a LOT of people who pitched in too and if I did please comment with their names so everyone KNOWS who has stepped up here.
We started a group on facebook called GO HOME SANDY – follow everything we are doing to help fix the situation post SANDY.
Find out how you can help – how to get help and what we are up to.
Thank you to every one who has been a part of this relief effort.
In the coming weeks we need support so this candle of support can burn a bit longer so we can rebuild this place to what it once was. Get in touch with me if you want to be a part of this project! GO HOME SANDY, for good.