— By Brittni Rubin
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Moti Kahana, founder of Rent2Buy.com — an online marketplace to rent or lease products with the option to buy — donated his time and equipment to resourcefully supply fuel to victims and hospital facilities.
Once Kahana’s neighborhood in Randolph, N.J. regained power, he switched on the household television to find the eastern seaboard in much graver condition than expected. “I realized I had been living in a bubble,” Kahana said. “I had no idea how big the problem actually was, and then I saw the lines at the gas station.”
The ongoing power outage made it impossible for gas stations without a secondary power source to provide services to customers. Thinking fast, Kahana decided to deploy his mobile fuel extractors — used to remove fuel from de-fleeted rental vehicles — to aid the situation.
Kahana contacted the corporate offices of Enterprise Rent-A-Car to gain access to Enterprise vehicles to tow around the solar panel-powered mobile units. The extractors, which can store up to 500 gallons of fuel, have the ability to not only extract gas but also act as portable gas stations to fill cars.
Kahana bought gasoline from nearby facilities, such as the Hess Corp.’s corporate-owned gas station, and transported it directly to local hospitals to service ambulances and other emergency vehicles. In some cases, Kahana left whole units at the hospital to give commuting doctors a reliable source of fuel.
While the hospitals reimbursed Kahana for the cost of the fuel, he donated fuel to power generators used by individual families in some of the worst hit neighborhoods in Staten Island and The Rockaways in Queens. At the same time, he organized additional aid, delivering donated blankets, food and water to victims in low-income areas.
A New York City councilman became aware of Kahana’s efforts and commissioned him to provide the same services for New York hospitals facing similar issues.
Currently, Kahana and his team are still aiding medical centers and trying to amend a hospital-wide diesel shortage.
“Hospitals and victims don’t need my money, they just need my service and my equipment,” said Kahana. "But when we went into some neighborhoods, we saw there was stuff some people didn’t have in the first place. They couldn’t even afford to buy the gas, so I just gave it to them.”