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Coldwell Banker Leverages Social Media to Help Sandy Victims

"We have to do something to help these people," said agent Melissa Shiel.

The following info was submitted by Coldwell Banker:

Sales associates from the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Wyckoff mobilized quickly with the help of social networking post-Hurricane Sandy to collect several trucks full of food, clothing, medical supplies, baby food, diapers, garbage cans, pails and tools such as rakes and shovels to assist tri-state residents affected by the storm.

After regaining power the Sunday following the storm, Coldwell Banker Wyckoff Branch Vice President Darlene Bandazian said, “I was sitting in my kitchen watching the news from around the tri-state area about all the people who had lost not only their power but their homes. With tears in my eyes as I viewed these heart-wrenching reports, I received a text from one of my agents, Melissa Shiel, that said, ‘We have to do something to help these people.’”

From there, said Bandazian, “we went right into action mobilizing a relief effort using email, cell phones and, what would prove to be our most powerful tool, Facebook.” Bandazian announced the effort in a group used by the Wyckoff office’s agents, who in turned spread the announcement by sharing it on Facebook.

Donations quickly began pouring in.

One of the biggest contributors of needed goods was a Facebook group called “Wyckoff Moms.” The Wyckoff Economy Shop run by local school PTOs donated a dozen large bags of clothing. Local Coldwell Banker agents from around the region were showing up at the Wyckoff office with bags of supplies, although the office was still without power. The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Ringwood and its Branch Vice President Fred Buchner collected items at their location to help out, as well.

“By Sunday afternoon it became necessary for us to come back and forth to the cold and dark office every couple of hours to haul the many donations we found at the office doorstep,” said Bandazian. “This continued through Tuesday at which point we were running out of room to walk through the office.”

Shiel’s husband, Ed Shiel, donated a moving truck to help in the effort. That Tuesday evening, Powerhouse Church volunteered to send a truck to the office to pick up all the clothing and mobilize a group of volunteers to sort the clothing donations by gender and size. It took the truck two trips to deliver what the office had collected. Finally, on Wednesday morning, agents from Coldwell Banker in Wyckoff loaded a 24-foot truck with donations.

“You name it, we had it,” said Bandazian. “It was incredibly heartwarming to see how powerfully a community can pull together to help those in need.”

For more information, contact Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Wyckoff at (201) 891-6700. The office is located at 372 Franklin Avenue and can be visited online at CBMoves.com/Wyckoff.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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