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Hurricane Sandy Relief has a Head Start

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A Pittsburgh-based charity is starting Hurricane Sandy relief efforts early.  Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF) is partnering with Gleaning For the World (GFTW) and sending four truckloads of supplies to areas in Sandy’s path.

The tractor-trailer trucks are filled with non-perishable food items along with toiletries and cleaning products that have been donated by corporations.  President of BBF Luke Hingson said the organization could send a total of 10 truckloads of supplies by the time “Frankenstorm” has died down.

“It’s hard for me to say ultimately what the impact is going to be other than severe flooding, power outages, damaged homes, particularly nearer to the coast,” Hingson said.  “There will be some problems in Pittsburgh I’m sure.”

Hingson added it’s better to have the supplies available sooner rather than later.  He anticipates about 40-50 million people being directly affected by the storm.

The tractor-trailers are being sent one at a time from Virginia, where GFTW is based, and stopping in Baltimore, Maryland first.

“The storm is coming our way, so we don’t want to try to send things into the heavy winds,” Hingson said.  “We want to send things after the heavy winds have passed, and the best way to do that right now is to send them from the south [to the] north after the heavy winds have gone through.”

Hingson said even though most of BBF’s disaster relief has been overseas, the Sandy effort is similar to assistance the Foundation has provided in the past.

“Our biggest effort was after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, and then we have been involved with floods and tornado victims over the past 2 or 3 years,” Hingson said.  “Those are smaller problems than what we’re anticipating with Hurricane Sandy, but nevertheless we have a history of it.”

Hingson said BBF is not seeking clothing or food donations right now, only financial support.  Hingson said the trucks' final destination depends on the storm's path and impact.