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Novel Approach Raises $1 Million for Storm Victims

NEW YORK, NY (January 7, 2013) – The three organizers of a unique “Amazon Bridal Registry” that raised more than $1 million to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief hope the idea will be a model for other charitable giving.

“We want to take the idea and build it into a bigger platform that can be used on a consistent basis,” says Alex Nordenson, who grew up in the Edina Covenant Church and first suggested the idea to his girlfriend, Katherine Dolan, and another friend, John Heggestuen.

Donors purchase items such as diapers, cleaning supplies, toothbrushes, and blankets through the registry that lists the needs. The goods are sent to a hub run by Occupy Sandy, a major relief organization with which the three have volunteered. Occupy Sandy then distributes the items.

Nordenson told a local television station, “We felt extremely fortunate to be left unscathed after the storm hit and this encouraged us to find ways to help out the surrounding community that was in far worse shape. We knew there needed to be a simple and easy way – with minimal logistical concerns – to tell the thousands of people that want to help what is needed most and provide them the means to ship the donation right to a distribution hub.”

Nordenson and Dolan are employed as social media managers at different companies and used their expertise to promote the project. National media outlets learned of the effort and published stories.

Heggestuen has overseen administration of the site. As Occupy Sandy learns of needs, they inform Heggestuen, and he posts the items to the registry.

The trio had no set expectations for how much money they might raise and were shocked when the registry hit $500,000. Then they set their sights on $1 million.

Although most of Manhattan has recovered from Hurricane Sandy, people in the hard-hit regions of The Rockaways and Staten Island continue to suffer and are in need of supplies for daily living as well as demolition and rebuilding.

The site has temporarily closed, but Nordenson says contributions still are needed to help people affected by the storm. “We’re in kind of an interesting space as the media moves away and doesn’t give it as much attention.”

About the Author

  • Marianne Peters is a freelance writer, master gardener, and environmental educator. She lives in Plymouth, Indiana with her husband, two teenage daughters, and two mischievous ginger cats called Fred and George (after the Weasley twins of Harry Potter fame). From 2008-2013 she wrote the Creation Care column for Covenant Companion magazine. In 2011, her family decided to downsize by half, a decision that led to the publication of her book Declutter for Good: Share Your Life and Reclaim Your Life. She blogs about green living and gardening at www.freshwordswriting.com.

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