Bryan Murphy was a successful realtor with Remax, making plans to move his office to a new location in Long Beach when Hurricane Sandy devastated his community on October 29. Two days later, he joined several others to help a friend remove all of his possessions out of his home, which, like many others, had catastrophic water damage. While working, he noticed his friend’s neighbor laboring by herself to get things out of her house and offered to lend a hand and some much-needed manpower. “She was very appreciative,” says Murphy. “I realized that not everyone was going to have as many people to help out with their homes as my friend.”
About the same time, Murphy took notice of a trend on Facebook—lots of people wanted to help the people affected by Hurricane Sandy but did not know how to go about it. He took it upon himself to solve this problem. He explains, “My idea was to match up people who were willing to help out with people who needed help. I started the Sandy Help LB Facebook page on November 3. It went from 50 likes to 100, to 1000 in a short time. I was amazed by the outpouring of support.”
With so many people displaced and homeless, Murphy has a simple mission—to get people back in their homes as soon as possible. His simple social media idea blossomed into a full-blown grassroots effort that has reached volunteers as far as Massacheussetts, Virginia and Wisconsin and has sparked other movements along the way. In Connecticut, for example, an 11-year-old girl, inspired by Murphy’s Facebook page, raised $193 at a hot cocoa stand. She took her profits to Target to buy supplies to donate to the victims of Sandy. Her efforts inspired the rest of her community to pitch in and drive two U-hauls full of much-needed cleaning supplies and toiletries to Long Beach, giving birth to an effort now called Feet on the Street that helps local resident gain access to these items.
Just in time for the holidays, Murphy has created Operation Sandy Claus, with plans to deliver stockings stuffed with goodies—toiletries and gift cards from Target, along with special notes—to the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Murphy also has plans to start an innovative power tool lending library for homeowners in need of expensive power tools to use on a short term basis.
These days Murphy can be found working in what will someday be his new Remax office (Remax agreed to let him use the space as his base of operations) or out on the streets, up to his elbows in debris, working tirelessly to bring his community back the only way he knows how—Every house, one at a time.
To stay up to date on Murphy’s efforts, visit Facebook.com/ SandyHelpLb.