Story by Priya Hutner
Tahoe Tool & Tech Drive – Until Oct. 25
Tools, generators, digital camera & other items to rebuild communities
Fundraiser Party – Oct. 20 | 6-8 p.m.
Blue Coyote | Truckee
“We are so blessed to live in beautiful Lake Tahoe, and I know our strong community will come together to help our fellow man, woman and child in Nepal.”
Sam Bloch founded the Communitere International in 2010, but his drive to serve humanity began years before when assisting with relief efforts in Thailand after the 2004 Tsunami.
“I went to help and ended up staying there for three years,” Bloch said over the phone from Haiti. Bloch was so affected by the devastation in Thailand he helped pave the way for reconstruction of a village after the Tsunami.
Communitere International, a nonprofit, grassroots organization, providing disaster response and relief was started by members of the Lake Tahoe community. Communitere seeks to pioneer an effective international model for sustainable disaster recovery. Their mission is to create dynamic, collaborative hubs in affected communities and make a powerful impact by giving individuals the means to become self-reliant.
In 2010, Haiti was ravaged by earthquake. “That is how the organization really took shape. It is an ongoing struggle for people who’ve lost everything. It’s been almost six years and there is still many years to go to help rebuild the country,” explains Bloch.
Communitere has helped to establish a resource center in Haiti where 185 organizations and more than 7,000 people use the centers resources.
“The center has maker’s space, a conference hall. It’s a place for innovation and new ideas coming into the country. We provide the ability for people to do the work,” explains Bloch.
In 2013, Communitere went to the Philippines after the country was hit by a typhoon and built a community resource center there, as well. This past September, Bloch and members of the International Board of Communitere went to NYC where Bloch presented at World Makers Faire. He spoke about the impact that maker spaces can have on disaster recovery efforts.
This past April, Nepal suffered the most devastating earthquake in more than 80 years with more than 9,000 people killed, 23,000 injured and untold numbers of people were left homeless. The 7.8 quake and its after shocks affected the lives, livelihood, shelter and infrastructure of the Nepali people.
“Resource centers go a long way and will be used for years to come. Rebuilding Nepal will take years. What happens is there is immediate relief with food, water and donations, but then people are left to their own to figure it out,” Bloch said.
Meredith Solin, resource and fundraising coordinator for Communitere and an organizer in Tahoe, is leading efforts for their current donation drive.
“The immediate need is for donations, namely tools and tech equipment, for use in the resource center they are building in Nepal. A site in Kathmandu has just been secured for the next six years. We have built the same such centers in Haiti and the Philippines,” said Solin.
The organization has worked with members of Burners without Borders, and various Tech Shop locations throughout country to help with disaster relief efforts. Communitere is currently raising donations for a tool and tech drive in Tahoe for disaster relief in Nepal. The community tool center will enable people to borrow tools to rebuild their community.
The Tahoe Tool and Tech Drive for Nepal runs through Oct. 25. Donations may be dropped off at Ace Mountain Hardware and Sports and Blue Coyote in Truckee, member services at the Northwoods Clubhouse in Tahoe Donner, and the Lake Tahoe Wellness Center in Kings Beach.
“We’ve extended our tool and tech drive in the Tahoe and the Bay Area due to the extreme need for assistance for a resource center in Nepal,” explains Solin. “We need everything from the smallest screwdriver to digital cameras, from generators to cement mixers, anything that will help the community rebuild is welcome,” she adds.
A fundraiser party to celebrate the Tool and Tech Drive will be held on Oct. 20 at the Blue Coyote in Truckee. They will host a buffet dinner, raffle, silent auction and beer specials from 6 to 8 p.m. The Blue Coyote and Deschutes Brewery will donate all of the profits to the building of the Nepal Resource Center.
“We are so blessed to live in beautiful Lake Tahoe, and I know our strong community will come together to help our fellow man, woman and child in Nepal, who have lost their lives and homes to this disaster, but with help will rebuild stronger than ever,” said Solin.
Tools, power tools and workshop equipment in working condition are desperately needed, as well as office equipment such as copy machines, cell phones and cameras.
Pick up is also available for large items. For information, contact Meredith Solin at [email protected] or visit communitere.org.