The HEALING WAVES crew caught me arriving with the trailer….
Thumbs up to making it with the trailer…
Tin Can Dreams
The stuffed trailer full of donations for Sandy Relief arrived at the make-shift recovery center in Long Beach, NY Monday just after noon. Local volunteers had turned an Ice Rink into a sort of giant flea market for victims to come and “shop” for supplies.
I chose this site after teaming up with the Healing Waves crew. They are hoping to use the trailer to give massages and other treatments to those working to recovery and rebuild. With donations of clothes pouring in from all over the center is pretty stuff, but thanks to Clayton Shui and his band of hands on healers the Ice Rink Volunteers agreed to accept the trailer offerings. When they heard that kids in Ohio had collected donations the group said there was no way they would not take the clothes.
The Healing Waves folks were amazing. They had a state trooper hold a parking spot and I backed the trailer in. The place is pretty chaotic. So we pulled out the bags and moved some of the supplies to the front. After a while HW gave the area a try.. giving a few massages and acupuncture treatments to volunteers and the officer who have been standing there all day.
We unpacked the trailer and put the sorted items in their places… the socks were gone in literally seconds… the hats and gloves went later that afternoon. The coats were put on racks.
The boxes were put in a makeshift kids section.
As for the random clothes,
unfortunately, there are just not enough volunteers to sort them all so for now they are in a giant pile filling half the bleachers.
The supplies are kept back in the ice rink area and then moved to the front area a pile at a time. People show up and go sections to section collecting what they need.
We kept some of the cleaning supplies and a portion of the food to put in the trailer when it goes out to help those rebuilding. We are hoping to offer warm food along with the other services.
The trailer took a bit of a beating on the trip, so it had to stay at the donation site until I can find someone to make repairs. Just all part of the adventure.
So about to hit the road … won’t have WiFi but you can follow me on twitter.. @TinCanDreams . ..even if you aren’t a tweeter… they show up on the side of my blog.
It’s a late start but had a few last-minute repairs and stuff and such is life.
Looks like NJ-NY has had their fill of random clothing donations so they are turning those away. I will probably find a goodwill along the way and top off the random bags.
I think the bags of coats and gloves, hats and food / cleaning supplies will still work for them.
I’ll just see how far I can get.. the little trailer is HEAVY today.
I’ll check back when I find a signal.
One of the things we had been hearing was Sandy Zone had been inundated with clothes. So we decided to pre-sort the stuff we thought they would really need – coats, blanket, gloves, sweats and hats out from the other clothes AND get all the other supplies pre-sorted to save Sandy volunteers time on that end.
As you can see it takes a mess to get in order. Michelle Gardner, my friend and mother of two students at The New School Montessori, volunteered to help.
Two other kids, Lucy and Whit Dustman also showed up to lend a hand.
We had the kids make the boxes the children had decorated when the reporter was here so they were a bit rushed and sort of thrown together. Michelle’s girls, Dawson (the blonde) and Gardner (the brunette) helped us un-pack the boxes. It was like a giant match game.. bubbles go with bubbles, play doh goes with play doh, and so on.
Then Lucy came along and created a system to spread the wealth among the boxes.
When her younger sisters showed up she put them to work. Lucy I suspect will be a CEO one day.. not only a hard worker, but she has the skills of Tom Sawyer.
It took three hours but we got it done and the trailer re-stuffed.
One of my biggest worries when planning this trip alone was hooking and un-hooking the trailer by myself.
I mean, how do you get the hitch and trailer lined up without someone yelling at you from behind the car.
That’s where what looks like two tennis balls on car antennas come in.
You put one on the hitch ball and one on top of the trailer hitch. When you look back or even in the rearview mirror you can see the ball and metal rod… you keep them lined up and when they touch the hitch is right under the right spot on the trailer.
I thought the idea was stupid easy but it works like a charm. There is a little bit of getting in and out to check and make minor adjustments but it is pretty close.
ONE NOTE: I bought the cheap $10 ones and one snapped in half almost instantly – but the $20-ish ones have held together really well.
I thought I would give you a little tour of the @TinCanDreams. There is a lot to see but it literally takes a blink of the eye to see it all.
This is the back, looking from the door way.. which is at the end of the couch. The couch pulls out to leave just enough room to walk between it and the dinette to make the bed.
The cushions lay flat. When I had the cushions done I had them put one of those memory foam with the cool beads in with the bottom cushion so it has a little extra padding.
The chandelier and “old hollywood” lamp (that’s what the previous owner called it) are from the previous owner.
Under the benches is storage – it is kind of a pain because you have to take the cushions off to get to it. But space is space.
This is a wider shot… you can see the ceiling where Coco – the previous owner put chicken-wire on the ceiling. There are slots so you can slide pictures or postcards or whatever up there.
The back area also had a pull down bed but when Coco put the bead board up it sort of ruined the old latch holes and fittings.
I plan on making it a bulletin board area. Maybe add a shelf… more lovely storage.
This is the closet door area. On the right you can just see the refrigerator. This is what you see directly in front of the door.
You can see a little more storage and right now that is what is in the closet too. That and now I have 3 marine batteries I am attempting to coordinate for power.
This is the kitchen. Directly to the right of the door. It has a working 3-burner propane stove and oven, and an electric/propane refrigerator. All work, amazingly. The faucet works but it is really just a drip so I don’t use it. I have a water jug with a spigot. When I was staying at the state park I cook the same meals I would at home.
Here’s a closer look at the dinette with the window.
It is small but feels pretty room. At the trailer warming part we had easily 3 to 4 adults and sometimes a kid or two and it didn’t really feel bad. Living more than one or two would be rough, though.
And so concludes the tour.
This all started with a stop at my friend Michelle Gardner’s house in Cincinnati. I had decided to do some volunteering on the election there for my Life As A Saint project when Hurricane Sandy began brewing. I decided after the election that my next stop would be the Jersey Shore to volunteer. Michelle thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids at The New School Montessori where her daughters go to get involved. The director agreed and “STUFF THE TRAILER” was born.
We put out the call for things like coats, blankets and cleaning supplies on Monday and by Thursday we had the pile you see here. I posted pictures in an earlier entry. When I went to school the kids treated me like a celebrity. Everyone wanted to share their storm story and they were all excited to be able to do something.
The trailer was STUFFED.
A lot of the parents had lived or knew people in the area where the storm hit.
Saturday we pulled everything out and got it sorted so it will be easier for the donation center. A few kids stopped by to help with that too. Thankfully… because it was a huge undertaking.
I am heading to the Long Beach Island area to drop the donations Monday.
One of the parents put me in contact with guy named Clayton Shui in the NY-NJ area who is doing something called Healing Waves. It is a group of massage therapist and acupuncturist that offer their services to people working demolition and clean up in the beach front neighborhoods. They are still putting together volunteers so if you know anyone in the area interested – Clayton’s number is 914-804-7562.
The group didn’t have a warm spot to work or a place for people to lie down. Little @TinCanDreams isn’t big but it does have a bed and can be warm. So it looks like the trailer has at least found a purpose in the relief effort. Since the stove and refrigerator work on propane I think we might also be able to offer at least soup or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Sounds like we have a mission.
I am still trying to learn how to create a slideshow in this WordPress thing, but when I do I’ll put up more pictures from the collection. The kids were so cute!