Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster

People's Pantry utilizes wireless devices to provide community support after Hurricane Sandy.

By Sheldon Jones on May 10, 2013

When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast last October, people from all over the country showed their support by lending a hand and raising funds. Six months later, Toms River, N.J., and other neighboring areas continue to recover from the impact of the superstorm. By incorporating technology into recovery plans, these communities are rebuilding faster.

Since Hurricane Sandy, wireless technology has proven to be a vital tool for local relief organizations. These resources allow volunteers to process requests more efficiently, track donations and deliveries accurately and connect with community leaders, government organizations and first responders.

“People don’t realize how much loss has been here. Even months after Sandy, many families are still struggling and in need of basic items many of us take for granted,” explains Patricia Donaghue, executive director of People’s Pantry, a food pantry in Toms River, N.J. “Wireless technology is essential to helping us continue to provide much-needed services to this community and will help us do it in a more efficient and effective way.”

The People’s Pantry provides food, clothing, computer access and other necessities to residents in Ocean County. People’s Pantry was created by Toms River Regional Schools following the hurricane last year to distribute donations received at shelters to the community. Since then, the pantry has grown into a Hurricane Sandy resource center for community members looking for a helping hand, serving 500 to 800 families each week.

To help the pantry meet the needs of the community, Verizon Wireless donated tablets, smartphones, and devices to provide on-site 4G LTE connectivity, and held a Wireless Workshop to train the organization’s staff on how to use the technology.

The additions help the pantry by replacing traditional handwritten filing and communication with technological options.

The People’s Pantry volunteers work tirelessly every day to meet the demands of the community. For information or to donate, email donations@trschools.com