Hurricane Sandy may have been washed out of the headlines by more recent news, but on the ground the effects of the storm remain very real—with some people still without heat and power, many individuals homeless and businesses destroyed.
Massage therapists along the Eastern Seaboard are among the people suffering, with some of them losing their homes and livelihoods.
Damage from Sandy is estimated at $30 billion for New Jersey and more than $40 billion for New York state, according to The New York Times–and Sandy also raged through Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
Now, several major massage-table companies have stepped up to donate to massage therapists who lost their equipment in the storm.
The companies responded to a call from Gloria Coppola, an educator and owner of Massage Pro C.E. (www.massage proce.com), who jumped into action to assist affected massage therapists soon after the storm abated, and who is now developing a nonprofit organization, Massage Without Borders (www.massagewithoutborders.org) to better receive and distribute contributions.
Oakworks, American 3B, Custom Craftworks, Earthlite, and One Concept in partnership with Master Massage and Massage Warehouse, all together donated 20 new massage tables, which have been distributed to needy massage therapists.
Still, much more help is needed, Coppola said, because some massage therapists have lost their entire households, as well as their massage practices, due to the storm, and are having to rebuild from nothing.
People who donate at least $25 through Massage Without Borders can receive a thank-you bracelet made by Louisa Leo, a massage therapist who lost all of her massage equipment in the storm, while supplies last. And Coppola is seeking individuals and organizations to sponsor the manufacture of a T-shirt that will be sold to raise funds. (Until the bank account in Massage Without Borders’ name is finalized, next week, the group’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/HelpMTs, is another viable source of donation information.)
Although Coppola began rallying the massage field immediately following Hurricane Sandy—the Facebook page for Massage Without Borders, has almost 900 fans after less than a month in existence—she envisions the organization as one that will eventually be able to assist massage therapists facing all kinds of crises, from natural disasters to health issues.
When Coppola recently spoke with a reporter, she said the new board of directors for Massage Without Borders has additional fundraising plans on the table, which MASSAGE Magazine will report on as news is available.
Coppola encourages massage therapists in serious need due to Superstorm Sandy to contact her with their FEMA number, to be put on a list to receive contributions as they come in.