Tesla group needs volunteers to ship 2,000 gifts overseas

12/14/2012 11:18 AM |

COURTSEY PHOTO | The Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham was built in 1901 by renowned architect Stanford White.

This summer, thousands of admirers of famed inventor Nikola Tesla from across the world donated more than $1.3 million to help a local nonprofit group  purchase one of Mr. Tesla’s former laboratories in Shoreham.

The fundraiser was such a success that the nonprofit is now asking volunteers to help fill gift packages for those who donated from abroad.

Since the campaign, the nonprofit group Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe has closed on the property and plans to build a science center there to honor the eccentric Tesla, who pioneered radio communication and the alternating current now used in modern electrical systems.

Mr. Tesla used the property in the early 20th century for wireless electricity experiments, and built a massive tower with dreams to provide free energy to the world.

His plans never fulfilled — and deeply in debt — Mr. Tesla was forced to sell the property. It was later used as a dumping ground for a photo company and was recently rumored to be purchased and the lab demolished to make way for commercial construction.

For years, advocates had pushed to save the land, with little success. But this latest campaign, called “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum,” was organized in part by Matthew Inman, an artist who runs the popular webcomic “The Oatmeal,” and who brought his legion of fans to support the group.

The fundraiser was a huge success, said the nonprofit’s treasurer, Mary Daum.

But the fundraiser’s backers still needed to get their “rewards,” as the group is calling them, anything from hats to T-shirts to mugs they earned by donating a certain amount to the campaign, Ms. Daum said.

While most of the packages were delivered without problem by a fulfilment company, the company recently returned international packages to the nonprofit, saying they couldn’t ship the rewards overseas, she said.

The group is looking for volunteers to help place shipping labels on the roughly 2,000 packages that were returned to the nonprofit.

“We need bodies, hands,” Ms. Daum said. “We don’t even need brains.”

She said volunteers who donate just an hour of their time would help the packages get shipped that much quicker.

The group will be packing Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Shoreham Schoolhouse on 27 North Country Road in Shoreham, she said.

“Anyone who wishes to help should call Chris Wesselborg at 631-566-8909 to make sure that someone from Tesla Science Center will be there,” Ms. Daum said.

[email protected]