In the midst of Superstorm Sandy and four unexpected days off work, a North Sea couple got to thinking about what they could do to ensure that children who lost their homes due to the storm could still have a joyful Christmas.
Anthony Cardona and Jennifer Davis said Thursday that while their place of work, Cook Maran & Associates in Southampton Village, did not have electricity for four days, they were lucky to have uninterrupted power and Internet at home. But they learned that the residents in a city where they once lived, Long Beach in Nassau County, were not as fortunate. They wanted to do something for the youngest victims, and partnered with another former Long Beach resident, surfwear designer Scott Massey, to sell T-shirts as a fundraiser for children's holiday gifts.
Cardona said he grew up with Massey and they frequently surfed together in Long Beach. “We wanted to do something to give back to the community,” he said.
Massey, who has designed for Roxy and Quiksilver, among other surf companies, came up with a simple design that makes a bold statement: "sandy" in typeface, crossed out by what appears to be a length of tape. The all-white design is on a blue T-shirt, as in "Sandy blew."
Davis said they have already sold 150 "Sandy blew" shirts at SewLastYear.com and directly to friends. The shirts are $20 each. Davis said they have gotten favorable deals from T-shirt suppliers who support the effort, and she and Cardona also expect to absorb some of the shirt printing cost so more money can go toward the cause. “Our goal for Christmas is to raise $5,000," Davis said.
A new $25 T-shirt was debuted on Wednesday, featuring a photo by Massey of a man riding a bicycle on the Long Beach boardwalk before Sandy, in 2004. On the back, the white shirt reads "Ride On, NY+NJ."
Davis said a sweatshirt is coming next, and she is hoping more artists will donate their work for future designs.
With the proceeds, Davis and Cardona plan to purchase necessities for kids, such as winter jackets, and fun gifts as well, like toys. To make the money go as far as possible, she said they are reaching out to surf businesses to get bulk deals on the gifts.
They plan to distribute in Long Beach, but Davis said that if they raise enough money they will spread to the Rockaways, Breezy Point and other devastated communities.
“We only have another three or four weeks to sell as many T-shirts as we can," Davis said. “The more T-shirts we sell, the more communities we can help."
After Christmas, Davis and Cardona plan to keep SewLastYear.com active and achieve official nonprofit status, to continue helping Sandy victims and other children in need.