By Maggie Urban-WaalaStaff Writer
Student Affairs Director of Communications Kerri Tortorella has done incredible things for victims of Hurricane Sandy. While dealing with the trauma herself, she has started working with several organizations to provide necessary items to those in need.
Tortorella was focused on getting resources to those who needed them, but when the donations began piling in, it was clear that this idea, and operation, was growing.
In no time at all, they were filling and emptying a warehouse with donations daily while simultaneously shipping out to those who were without.
Recently, The Long Reach Foundation was officially incorporated after it bloomed from what initially started as a generous idea.
“We had such amazing support that we ended up incorporating as a non-profit organization,” stated Tortorella on her excitement about incorporating.
Tortorella saw that support was needed in her neighborhoods of Long Beach and aimed to stay tied to the area while also helping all of the surrounding areas.
This foundation coordinates with several cities and distributes to wherever certain items, ranging from diapers to tools, are required.
It is a non-profit organization and is based entirely on donations. There has been no advertising, the Facebook page informs donors of which items people are lacking. As soon as items are posted, Tortorella explained that cars show up filled with those items.
The organization has been working to lift Sandy victims spirits as well as help them rebuild their lives.
The Long Reach Foundation worked with hundreds of other companies to sponsor a Thanksgiving event for Sandy victims that included live music from local musicians, games and activities, as well as plenty of food to go around with over 200 donated turkeys.
“It was a day for everyone to come together as a community and enjoy the day and to put stress aside, for at least a couple hours.”
There was fundraising for the event, which they ran through their Facebook page as well as Swingbelly’s. The group ended up raising about $45,000 in only six days.
With so much of the event’s food and other items being donated, there were surplus funds left over which will all go towards the New York relief fund through Surf for All. One hundred percent of the donations will go directly to people in need in Long Beach and the Rockaways.
The Long Reach Foundation is now working with several organizations to put together a toy drive for Christmas.
With such an unexpected amount of support, the organization’s future plans are limitless, but for now the organization is focusing on the rebuilding process. They are also focused on distributing tools, cleaning supplies and school supplies that have been donated through several schools.
They have also been working to help victims attain cars, which may have been ruined or lost in the storm. Working with car dealerships, they have been able to get discounts for buyers.
Even after the rebuilding process is complete, Tortorella is confident for the future work of the Long Reach Foundation.
Their mission statement reads, “The Long Reach Foundation provides communication, advocacy, and coordinated support for volunteers, donors, governments, and organizations to better serve those in need in times of disaster and beyond.”
This statement shows a promising effort on their part and shows hope for any future situations where communities may need help from their neighbors.
Tortorella not only has faith in the Long Reach Foundation, but also in the Hofstra community as well.
“I cannot stress enough what a huge part Hofstra has played in all of these relief efforts. The Hofstra administration reacted immediately to the needs of surrounding communities by coordinating donations and assistance. I can’t tell you how much it meant to have the support of Hofstra staff and students during this time, not only supporting efforts I was heading, but to see Hofstra Pride everywhere I went in a number of communities. I’m proud to not only work for Hofstra but to call this University my alma mater,“ Tortorella.