Cold, blustery weather and some stray snowflakes Friday morning didn’t stop workers from the Shops at Carolina in Williamsburg from packing two Salvation Army trucks full of furniture that will eventually make their way up to Hurricane Sandy victims.
Shops at Carolina President Joe Steele said almost 1,000 pieces of furniture are being donated in the effort. The Shops at Carolina donated furniture to Hurricane Katrina victims five years ago.
“If we can help a little and make somebody’s day a little better, then that’s great,” Steele said. “We can get their feet back beneath them.”
The furniture consisted of items for every room in the house. There was an abundance of chairs of all types, with most of the furniture made of durable wood. Steele said many of the pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind items that can’t be sold on the floor anymore since they’re out of production—since the store specializes in selling special order items and similar wares, these pieces would have just gone to clearance stores.
Steele said sales have been great and that he wants to grow the business, and to do that, he needed to clear out the warehouse space that was filled with the furniture that he donated. Most of the products in the warehouse and in the store are American made.
Steele’s parents opened the business more than 35 years ago when they graduated from William and Mary. He has since taken over operations and is planning on expanding the main store to add additional showroom space.
For Nancy Kreutzer, a longtime employee of Shops at Carolina and a New York native, the effort is especially meaningful.
“Anything that you can do to help these people is greatly appreciated,” Kreutzer said. “I saw it first-hand. Nothing is salvageable.”
Her entire family lives in New York, and she said though nothing was destroyed, the damage was palpable. One of her family members who lives 12 miles from the coast had a waterline imbued four feet up on his home. A niece in Long Beach didn’t lose her home, though many others in the area did.
According to FEMA’s website, 527,850 applications have been submitted for aid due to what has since been dubbed “Superstorm Sandy.” FEMA has approved $1.2 billion in assistance for victims of the storm and has set up 23 disaster recovery centers in New York, 15 in New Jersey and one in Maryland. According to the website for New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, the damage in that state is estimated to be $36.9 billion. A press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said that damage from Sandy in that state is estimated to be $41.9 billion.