The story of Superstorm Sandy disaster relief in New York exemplifies Hotes Foundation founder Richard Hotes’ belief that volunteering is the best way to make a positive change in the world. In 2010, the Hotes Foundation built 500 permanent homes in Fond Parisien, Haiti, for victims of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. As families moved into their new homes in Miracle Village, one resident exclaimed, “I feel like I’m moving to New York!” The nickname stuck. Another earthquake survivor embodied the Haitians’ gratitude to the Hotes Foundation when he declared, “One day we want to do what you are doing — we want to go and help other people” (CBS News). This declaration was soon tested.
Shortly after Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast in November 2012, the Hotes Foundation sent a team of volunteers to the New York area to distribute food, supplies, and provide other assistance to storm victims in the borough of Queens. The Hotes Foundation began planning a second mission to New York to provide additional relief once volunteers completed their initial round of work.
When reports of the Hotes Foundation’s aid to Superstorm Sandy victims reached the shores of Haiti, and many Haitians expressed regret that they could not help the victims of Superstorm Sandy in the way that Americans had helped them. Out of such sentiments an idea was born, and the Hotes Foundation became determined to find a way for Haitians from Miracle Village to help in the next mission to New York. Through his expertise in disaster relief aid, Richard made it possible for Haitians to get visas and travel to New York to help rebuild homes on Staten Island. Many people inside and outside of the Hotes Foundation credit that mission with further fostering a sense of kinship among Haitians and Americans.
For more information on this mission or to learn how to volunteer with the Hotes Foundation, please call (425) 889-5917 or complete our online form.