Tools on Demand: Helping Disaster Responders Rebuild

A new tool trailer for ToolBank USA will put tools in the hands of volunteers on the front lines

When a hurricane or other natural disaster hits, volunteers for all sorts of charity organizations and nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity and American Red Cross, step in to help, putting sweat, muscle and heart into repairing and rebuilding affected communities. But too often those organizations hit a snag: A lack of tools to put in the volunteers’ hands.

Enter the mobile tool trailer from ToolBank Disaster Services, part of ToolBank USA. Much like a bookmobile but stocked with hammers, drills, pry bars and the like, it travels to disaster-stricken areas, bringing tools to people on the front lines via disaster management organizations that sign up to participate.

In recent years the trailer has traveled to Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and West Virginia in response to major flooding events; to Illinois in response to devastating tornadoes; to Tennessee in response to wildfires; and, most recently, to Houston in response to Hurricane Harvey.

But, said ToolBank USA CEO Alan Harrison, “Many times we’ve had to not deploy to a disaster because we only had one trailer.”

When ToolBank reached out to United Rentals seeking a donation of some tools after Hurricane Harvey, United Rentals had a bigger idea: Donate a new 48-foot trailer, pre-stocked with all the essentials.

Watch the video for the whole story and to see the Mobile Tool Room for yourself.

Thanks to the donation, “We’re actually going to be able to double our capacity and help more communities that have been impacted by disasters,” said Matt Walenciak, executive director of ToolBank Disaster Services.

Once the trailer deploys, you’ll be able to follow it on social media using the hashtag #ToolsforHope.

Natural disasters will never stop, but neither will the willingness of good-hearted citizens to lend a hand — preferably with a tool in it.



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