Posted on | October 22, 2013
Written by | Cara McIlwaine
A year after the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, relief efforts are still ongoing. In September, 100 volunteers from Diageo’s Community Activity and Relief Efforts employee volunteer group (C.A.R.E.) from Norwalk, CT and New York City, as well as local participants from distributing partner Empire Merchants gathered to lend a hand repairing homes near the Habitat for Humanity of Westchester Command Center, where more than 2,000 Breezy Point homes were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Volunteers were divided into teams based on skills and interests, and each team was led by a Habitat volunteer. One group focused on debris clean-up, another painted houses, and a third worked on larger projects like rebuilding floors and weeding the garden surrounding the Christ Church. Greg Sherwood, Atlantic Wines & Spirits, Diageo Business Manager, said, “Participating with Diageo to help rebuild parts of our community and be appreciated by homeowners, who are still rebuilding their lives, was the most rewarding day I can remember.”
Habitat for Humanity of Westchester has worked on 800 homes in the Rockaways, rehabbed 12 businesses and assisted five congregations. The organization has been active since the first week after Sandy, with 8,000 volunteers helping in all parts of the Rockaways.
It was a natural fit for Diageo and Empire to be involved with helping a local community still clearly hurting a year after the natural disaster. “Giving back to the communities we work in is central to Diageo, and having so many Atlantic Wines & Spirits folks supporting the effort with Habitat for Humanity was great,” said Matt Johnson, Diageo Metro NY Market Director.
Tom Maguire, AWS Reserve Director, added, “It was great to see so many people from Diageo working together to help the community. And I was able to spend quality time—outside the typical office setting—with a number of business associates.”
“Since Sandy, Diageo employees have contributed more than 2,500 volunteer hours and the company has given more than $100,000 in donations and supplies, not including the $10,000 check presented to Habitat for Humanity. As we near the storm’s one-year anniversary it was shocking to see how much was still left to be done,” said John Pageler, Senior VP, Corporate Relations, Diageo North America. In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Diageo distributed 85,000 bottles of water, more than 800 winter coats and 9,600 pairs of socks, underwear and T-shirts to impacted areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, among their other relief efforts.