Over the past two weeks, the whole country (or, at least, the part of the country that pays attention to things that are relevant) has kept an eye on the response to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy and the stupid, stupid Nor’easter that followed it. Our elected officials have been held under particular scrutiny for how they handled the storm; President Obama’s response secured an endorsement from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and may have swayed a number of undecided voters in his reelection.
One politician whose response to the hurricane has been celebrated around the Internet is Newark mayor Cory Booker, who took to Twitter to respond directly to his constituents who were without power, dealing with flooding, and sometimes worse. He offered hurricane evacuees into his home. But it was one particular tweet that commanded more attention from non-New Jersey residents than most. When Newark resident Tyree Humes tweeted at Mayor Booker to let him know he was “running out of hotpockets,” Booker responded, “I believe in you. I know this is a problem you can handle.” Naturally, this went viral, because the Internet.
Well, the people at the Hot Pockets company saw an opportunity, and wrote a letter to the mayor which simultaneously feels a little icky and opportunistic and also well-intentioned and a “helping the only way we know how” kind of situation. An excerpt:
“We read the tweet between you and one of your constituents referencing the fact that he had run out of Hot Pockets sandwiches, and it made us think that we could do a little bit to help. Enclosed, please find coupons for free Hot Pockets that you can give out to people who stop by your home, or anyone else you feel could use them. We’re also sending some to Tyree Humes who sent you the tweet.
We realize that there is much work ahead to rebuild and move on, but we wanted to make this small gesture to help. We wish you, the people of Newark and all those affected by the storm the best of luck in recovery, rebuilding and returning to normalcy as soon as possibly.”
Obviously, there are things the people of Newark, and much of the Eastern Seaboard at large, still need more than Hot Pockets. Some need toilet paper, gas or water. Some are still without electricity. But after an impossibly rough couple of weeks, sometimes it’s nice to not only know that an elected official is actually listening to and communicating with his constituents, but also to have just a totally weird chain reaction of events that will hopefully make someone, somewhere smile. And get a free Hot Pocket. In the meantime, you can help residents with the essentials via these wish lists created by Occupy Sandy, Matthew Titone and more. BlackBook and VIBE Media also have a Hurricane Sandy relief fund, which you can contribute to here.