I spoke with a friend of mine this week who lives in the East Village. Brette and her husband Ben were one of the lucky ones. As Hurricane Sandy beat down, their first-floor apartment on the Lower East Side–amazingly–remained flood-free. They lost power but little else. At the onset of the storm–just as their neighbors resorted to looting and gunshots in the dark–with the grace of a car and a place to go, Brette and Ben hightailed it to the Bronx.
In the days that followed, they watched friends shoveling water and raw sewage out of their apartments. On television, they saw people they pass everyday foraging for food in dumpsters. In Midtown, which never lost power, business went on as usual, and Brette told me that people started calling it “The Capitol” (in reference to The Hunger Games). Her neighborhood was “District 12.”
Two days ago, the New York times reported that volunteers were flocking to disaster areas, overwhelming the donation centers. Volunteers from New York and other states loaded up trucks and U-Hauls and drove into Staten Island, Rockaways in Queens and some of the most hit-hard areas with bottled water, blankets, diapers, matches, ziplock baggies–even stacks of warm pizzas.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news briefing on Sunday that the city is inundated with well-meaning people dropping off goods at relief centers, and suggested they give money instead.
Here is a list of organizations accepting donations to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy:
American Red Cross www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy
Brooklyn Recovery Fund www.brooklynrecoveryfund.org
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York Citywww.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/home/home.shtml
Salvation Army www.salvationarmyusa.org
United Way Sandy Recovery Fund uwsandyrecovery.org
If you REALLY want to send goods and supplies instead of cash, there are neighborhood relief efforts happening on a local level. Brette passed along a list of items needed at one of these distribution centers. Here it is:
IKA Collective is turning its studio into a donation center. Please drop-off, FedEx, or mail the items below. PLEASE NOTE: CLOTHES are NOT the main need right now and are actually clogging up the distribution sites. BELOW ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL ITEMS. It will really help if you can pre-sort and label your donations.
15 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
*MOST ESSENTIAL ITEMS* – Work gloves, batteries, flashlights, face masks, thick black contractor bags. THIS is the top 5 that we need right now. Please CLEARLY mark boxes so that we can distribute them easily and quickly.
*OTHER ITEMS* Blankets, Candles, Lighters, Lanterns, Sanitary Wipes, feminine hygiene products.
*MOST ESSENTIAL MEDICINE ITEMS* – Baby cough medicine, BAND-AIDS, Neosporin, Ace bandages, Advil, Tylenol.
*CLEANING SUPPLIES* – Mops, brooms, shovels, bleach, Clorox, buckets.
*MOST ESSENTIAL FOOD ITEMS*- WATER, orange Juice, Apple Juice, granola bars, powdered milk, we have tons of peanut butter, but need JELLY and BREAD.
*MOST ESSENTIAL BABY ITEMS* –Diapers, Jars of baby food, formula, bottles, WIPES.
*GENERAL DONATION TIPS*- The NEATER THE PACKAGING THE BETTER. The more clearly marked and neatly packaged, the more helpful the donations. Any monetary donations will be used to purchase the above items.
To all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and the countless volunteers who have banded together to help those in need…
May you be safe and supported.
May you be warm and fed.
May you find love and a place to live.
May you have strength to endure the unimaginable, and the hope to carry on.
How are you helping those affected by Sandy? Drop me a line and let me know.