After Hurricane Sandy, Belvedere Elementary teacher Kaitlin Paul decided to collect supplies and take them to her hometown of Toms River, NJ.
Paul informed the staff at Belvedere of what she was doing and asked for their help—the response was overwhelming.
"I sent out an email to my friends in Baltimore and I asked my principal if I could send it to the staff," Paul said. "I only had two days to collect stuff because I was leaving on Friday after work. I didn’t expect that much. But people at home brought stuff to my house and filled up my kitchen and people at work brought two bags each and I couldn’t fit it all in my car."
In just 24 hours, Paul and the staff at Belvedere pulled together enough clothing, dry goods, and toiletries to fill up three of Paul’s SUVs. The only problem was that Paul has only one SUV to transport all of the supplies.
So speech language pathologist Amy Russ started calling companies to ask for help.
Russ began contacting large companies but Paul's tight schedule was a problem. That’s where Clement Hardware came in.
Russ called Clement Hadware and found that owner Gordon Clement was already in New Jersey delivering generators for Sandy victims. As soon as Clement heard about Paul's situation, he wanted to help. Within the hour (and after multiple phone calls by him) Clement had not only secured a U-haul cargo van but also agreed to pay for the rental.
“I am glad to have been able to help,” Clement said. “I really think New Jersey is in a tough spot right now. In time, they will come back and rebuild and be back to normal, but that takes time.”
Clement’s generosity truly touched Russ.
“He is the nicest guy ever,” Russ said. “I am shocked. I shouldn’t be shocked but I am shocked. In this day (and) age it takes a disaster to get people to jump and help, but I barely explained anything to him and he was on board right away. He was already there helping anyway.”
Added Paul, "We were so, so thankful. I couldn’t believe that on such short notice they were able to do that."
Clement, a lifelong resident of Severna Park, said they usually keep a decent amount of generators in the store for when the power goes out. Before Sandy, they sold out and ordered more, which created leftovers.
“We went to New Jersey Wednesday through Friday to take the generators,” Clement said. “We took them because we had extra and they were out. It worked out for everyone. We got rid of our inventory and gave them something they really needed.”
The only expenses Belvedere Elementary had to pay was gas and tolls, which they quickly raised the money for among the staff. Russ said the entire staff and her community was very responsive to the need for donations.
“I know with myself, I put out a call to my neighbors one night and woke up to a pile of stuff on my front stoop; it barely fit in my van,” Russ said. “It was amazing how much stuff teachers pulled into the parking lot with. They had pickup trucks full of supplies.”
The entire effort was a huge success for Belvedere Elementary and the community, which is something Russ said would not have been possible without Clement Hardware.
“It was obvious from the get-go that Clement Hardware is a place that not only considers themselves a part of the community, but that they truly care about their customers’ well-being (even the non-paying ones),” Russ wrote in an email. “I want to publicly thank Mr. Clement and his staff at Clement Hardware in Severna Park. They proved what a valuable asset they are to the Severna Park/Broadneck Peninsula.”