Hurricane Sandy: uShip’s ‘Highway to Help’ and Avoiding a ‘Second Wave Disaster’

UPDATE: uShip now has 6 urgent shipments of relief supplies headed to the NY/NJ coastal areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Highway to HelpIf you can help haul these shipments, please email us at or find these shipments under the “Charitable” category on

When we encounter disasters like Hurricane Sandy that devastated much of the northeast this week, the natural and genuine reaction is to send stuff to those in need — blankets, clothes, food, televisions, rugs, the list goes on.

If you have friends or family members in the northeast expecting goods from you, did you know there’s a way to ship it at little or no cost?  It’s called Highway to Help, uShip’s charitable shipment program.

If you are a shipping customer, simply list your items to be moved under the “Charitable Shipment” category on uShip and they will automatically be a part of Highway to Help shipments. Start here.

We have an enormous network of generous, feedback-rated transporters who have, and continue to be, willing to donate their services at no charge or simply at cost of fuel.

uShip waives all service charges and match fees on Highway to Help deliveries, so neither the shipper nor transporter have any costs to consider.

Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seasside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.  Photo: New Jersey Governor's Office/Tim Larsen.

Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seasside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
Photo: New Jersey Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen.

Highway to Help was create in 2008 in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

And today it’s helped many people during disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes, oil spills, fires — as well as those in need — cancer victims, lost family members.

But according to the Red Cross, at this stage of recovery, “stuff” being sent to impacted areas can create what’s called a “Second Wave Disaster” — an influx of goods that have no specific destination and aren’t in lock-step with current relief efforts, ultimately creating more trouble for those on the receiving end, including transporters who do the deliveries.

For example, when Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992, they received an influx of winter clothing, including fur coats (?).  Aid organizations on the ground struggled to sort and distribute these items, and many couldn’t be used by the affected Florida communities.

That’s why the Red Cross doesn’t take in these sorts of things.  They simply need donations and blood.  Where “stuff” (medical supplies, water, clothing, blankets, etc.) is needed, they have distribution centers and a process for putting these into the hands of those that need it.

So, the point here is two-fold:

  1. Be thoughtful.  If you have things to send or you’re transporting goods to that area, be very thoughtful about it — does it have a specific destination?  Are they items in need? — and use Highway to Help
  2. Donate.  If you want to help monetarily, donate what you are able through the Red Cross.
Every bit helps.
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