While overseas Frank Storch, Baltimore community leader, heard that a hurricane was approaching his hometown of Baltimore.
“I got a call on Thursday saying there was a big storm happening. I said to myself, ‘I have to be back in Baltimore,’” said Storch.
Despite having to spend an extra $2,000 to change his flight plans, Storch and his wife returned to the US on Sunday, ready to chip in however necessary to help his neighbors and friends in Baltimore.
“I got back,” he said, “and I spent the next several hours going to every Home Depot and drug store to get batteries and flashlights.”
From his home Storch distributed the flashlights and batteries to about 500 people who came to his door on Sunday night, and several hundred more on Monday night, until there were no more remaining.
Luckily the Baltimore community was not hit as hard by Sandy as other parts of the East Coast like New Jersey and New York. Realizing that he could help people in dire need in the New York area, Storch sprang into action. On Wednesday evening, after hearing that there were still many people in the New York area without electricity, water and other basics, Storch tracked down five truckloads of supplies including 120 generators, and drove them to Far Rockaway, an area devastated by the violent storm. In coordination with the community rescue group Hatzalah of Far Rockaway, Storch arrived in the Queens neighborhood and began distribution of supplies.
“You get there and you do it. You just get the job done,” Storch said.
“It is really a heartwarming story,” he said, noting the reaction of the residents when he arrived who would be able to have at least some relief from the pressures inflicted on them by Sandy. “It was just so beautiful.”
Storch also had to coordinate his actions with the Community Emergency Response Team, CERT. Without their permission Storch and his crew would not have been able to enter the area. Even with their caravan of trucks and van, they were only allowed to enter because Far Rockaway was considered “bad, but not dangerous.” Thanks to Frank Storch’s initiative and the help of all those he recruited to help him, the effects of Hurricane Sandy were to some extent mitigated.