FRF responded immediately on-scene at the heart of the wreckage left by Superstorm Sandy. The FRF response was initiated on Tuesday, October 30th when the Board of Directors determined that a response was needed and appropriate. Quickly after that, a loaded fuel tanker was dispatched from Riverside, California-based Pacific Tank Lines. Ted Honcharik, owner of Pacific Tank Lines and FRF’s Chairman of the Board, travelled to the East Coast to assess the situation in advance of the tanker’s arrival. It took 3 days for the tanker to get to the East Coast (drivers of hazardous materials trucks are restricted in their on-duty time), but once there, action began quickly.
On Saturday, November 3rd, the Fuel Relief Fund truck opened near a fire station in Hoboken, NJ. It dispensed free fuel to victims carrying 5-gallon fuel containers during daylight hours. The next day Fuel Relief Fund began dispensing in Staten Island, NY. On Monday November 5th, fuel was dispensed to hurricane survivors in Long Branch, NJ.
Within three days, the Fuel Relief Fund distributed gasoline and diesel in 5 gallon increments to over 1700 individuals affected by the hurricane. Furthermore, FRF provided fuel to Red Cross, FEMA, National Guard, and local emergency response vehicles. When the FRF tanker needed refilling, the team drove it to Delaware to refuel.
The assistance of partner corporation Mansfield Oil was instrumental in this phase of the response: the team returned with fuel and were met in New Jersey with a second tanker truck and volunteers from Mansfield Oil, headquartered in Gainesville, GA. The fuel was distributed in Union Beach, NJ; Rockaway Beach, NY area; Far Rockaway, NY; and the Sea Bright and Toms River, NJ area. The Rockaway, Queens area was the visual focal point for the post-storm impacts.
Bill Lavin, an Elizabeth, New Jersey fire captain assisting Fuel Relief in Hoboken, described the efforts in an email he sent the organization:
"When you first told me you had a tanker full of "free" fuel to distribute to those in greatest need, I never fully understood the impact you would have. Hoboken, NJ on Saturday (sic) was remarkable to hear the residents express surprise and gratitude that some people would be so thoughtful and generous as to drive across country and provide the most needed resource to them and at no cost."
"I couldn't help but noticing, there was a line for water 20 people long, a line for food 30 people deep, and then looked at the line for fuel which stretched 250 to 300 strong. Validating exactly what you told me, without fuel, not much else can get accomplished."
There are many more photos, articles, and testimonials that can be found on the Fuel Relief Fund’s website and Facebook page describing the impact of Fuel Relief Fund efforts after hurricane Sandy and many other disasters. Fuel Relief Fund is grateful for the generous support of its donors and partners, which enable us to provide relief and help to those most affected by disasters throughout the world.