Research Triangle Park, NC (Feb. 26, 2019) – GoTriangle has won a national award in the annual APTA AdWheel competition, taking first place in the Best Marketing and Communications Educational Effort: Special Event for its work collecting and delivering donations to Eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence last fall.
Mike Charbonneau, GoTriangle’s director of communications and marketing, accepted the American Public Transportation Association award on behalf of the entire organization at a conference in New Orleans this week.
“Even before it was clear to us in the Triangle just how devastating Hurricane Florence had been for our neighbors to the east, we had begun working with partners to coordinate a donation drive so we could rapidly respond to their needs,” says Charbonneau, noting that nearly every GoTriangle department was represented in the volunteer effort. “We are very thankful for how amazingly generous Triangle residents were in showing up on an 87-degree day to our Hurricane Relief Bus event with carload after carload of desperately needed goods.”
On Sept. 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, with its storm surge and days of rain causing historic widespread flooding that damaged tens of thousands of homes. More than 20,000 people in North Carolina spent time in shelters, and parts of Interstate 95 and Interstate 40 were closed.
GoTriangle’s Hurricane Relief Bus drive at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh was part of a larger Here to Help: Hurricane Relief effort orchestrated by WRAL-TV that also included the United Ways of North Carolina and the Greater Triangle, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, GoTriangle, Alliance Health and NC State University.
In 13 hours, the drive netted more than 60,000 pounds of supplies that filled five buses, three vans, a box truck and part of a tractor-trailer. The next week, GoTriangle, GoDurham and partner volunteers delivered the goods to United Way collection points in Newport and Lumberton.
Lisa Jo Douglas had been waiting in Lumberton to help unpack the buses.
“I saw those three buses coming, and I said to myself, ‘We are not alone in this’,” Douglas said that day. “God sent you to bless our community and, from the heart, we do appreciate it all.”
GoTriangle’s campaign included a brief promotional video, social media graphics and a news release to promote the drive. Throughout the collection day, staff members provided live reports on WRAL’s Facebook platform to show our community the progress being made throughout the day in real-time and to continue highlighting what was still needed.
GoTriangle also produced a news release and comprehensive video story of the deliveries to the devastated communities in Eastern North Carolina so Triangle community members could see their kindness at work.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, more than 600 North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Florence remain in hotels through FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.
GoTriangle spearheaded a similar donation drive in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.