The team that brought the Cape Region Gulf Aid to raise money for Louisiana residents after the 2010 oil spill, is now working for residents of New Jersey struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Delaware Coast Aid has planned a fundriaser as many residents still have no power and temperatures are dropping.
Coast Aid is set for 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach. The event features local bands, a hot soup kitchen, refreshments and free parking.
Proceeds will assist in the response, recovery and relief effort, with donations being sent directly to the Jersey shore. A portion of the proceeds from the event will also go to improving Delaware coastal habitats harmed by major storms, said Jen Jones, development coordinator for the Center for the Inland Bays, which is partnering with Bethany Blues, Atlantic Horizons and other area businesses and community leaders.
Anatomy of a community effort
Bethany Blues business partner Kevin Roberts of Lewes was determined to help New Jersey residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
On Nov. 2, Roberts packed up his car with generators, warm blankets, coats, batteries and chain saws. He arrived in New Jersey motivated and ready to help.
"I found a lot of people needed help, but no one knew how to get the help to them," Roberts said. "I went from shelter to shelter asking people where I should go. It was chaotic. No one really knew."
On his way home, a disappointed Roberts decided he needed to organize a benefit that would send real help to New Jersey and New York communities most affected by the storm.
"I knew it was something I had to do," Roberts said.
At 10:30 p.m., he pulled over to the side of the road and posted his experience on his Facebook page.
"The entire Eastern seaboard received a blow from the hurricane and there was damage to local and surrounding areas in Delaware, however the brunt of the hurricane seems to have impacted our neighboring states of New Jersey and New York in the worst way," Roberts said.
In the first hour after his post, 700 people had clicked 'like' on Roberts' status explaining the need for Coast Aid.
This is not the first benefit for Roberts. In 2010 when the BP oil well released millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Roberts, along with Chip Thompson of Atlantic Horizons, and many other community members, organized Gulf Aid, raising nearly $70,000 for Louisiana residents affected by the oil spill.
By Saturday, Roberts and Thompson had talked with Pat Delaney of the Delmarva Red Cross and determined the best way to funnel money to New Jersey would be through the nonprofit Center for the Inland Bays.
Nearly 20 people gathers Nov. 4 to form the Delaware Coast Aid committee. From there, the nearly 20 members of the committee went their separate ways to start raising money and finding corporate sponsors.
"It started to fall into place," said Ali Barbato, a corporate sponsorship committee member for Coast Aid. "Everyone wanted to help because it could have been us."
In the first 36 hours since the formation of Coast Aid, more than $15,000 was raised; the goal is $100,000 to aid coastal residents.
Sponsorships are available and will include complimentary tickets. For more information go to www.delawarecoastaid.org or go to Delaware Coast Aid on Facebook.
The Rusty Rudder donated space and employees to manage ticket sales and entertainment during the benefit. Schell Brothers donated $10,000 to kick off the fundraising efforts, while 98.5, the classic rock station, donated advertising.
"This benefit is different from Gulf Aid because it will be inside, so there is no need for a huge stage or so many volunteers," said Roberts. "We have a smaller need for volunteers, so mostly we are working with media and businesses to get the word out and get sponsorships."
The event will include entertainment by Love Seed Mama Jump, Lower Case Blues, Big Hat No Cattle, and the E Street Shuffle Band, a free food buffet, kids activities, beer and wine, and free parking throughout Dewey.
Tickets will be available at the door and are $25 for residents 21 and over; $10 for people aged 12-20, and free for children under 12.
Donations will be accepted at the event or by sending a contribution to the Center for the Inland Bays-Delaware Coast Aid, 39375 Inlet Place, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. All donations are tax deductible.
"The partnership with the CIB was easy because they are so well organized and it allows full transparency of the funds raised for this relief effort," Roberts said. "Once the funds are collected, the committee will work to determine where the need is the greatest, then the funds can go directly to the organizations and individuals who really need it."
More area fundraisers
In order to assist Brandywine Senior Living employees throughout the East Coast who were victimized by Hurricane Sandy, Seaside Pointe in Rehoboth is hosting a hot dog sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15. Pick up an entire hot dog lunch for $3. On Friday, Nov. 16, Seaside Pointe will have an all-day bake sale. Donations of baked goods are welcomed. For more information call 302-226-8750.
Suzette Stewart of CNC Solar is looking for donations of construction supplies, as well as volunteers skilled in construction to go over to New Jersey.
Short term needs include: warehouse space in the Lewes or Rehoboth areas, volunteers to serve as donation drive organizer, donation drive workers and drivers. Call Suzette Stewart at 302-260-9245.
Auto Gallery on Savannah Road is collecting warm clothing and nonperishable foods. Drop off donations at the Lewes location or call 302-645-5353 for information.