Since the aptly named super-storm landed in October, various disaster relief efforts began their arduous tasks in the affected communities. There is still much to be done, however, as new challenges present themselves even a month later. One of the most pressing: quickly dropping temperatures are arriving as the season changes and many are left without homes. And despite the efforts of utility companies, many of the homes that are considered safe are still without heat. Groups like Occupy Sandy and other organizations led by local churches are working on the island to address such challenges and distribute necessary items while recruiting volunteers to assist with physical labor: mucking out homes, repairing roofs, even pulling nails. Victims of the storm have lost almost everything. They are tired, frustrated, and the road to recovery is long before them.
During this season of giving and goodwill towards men, there are many ways to help this community. Monetary donations are a great place to start, particularly if you live far from the area, but specific items are needed, too: blankets, winter coats, hats, and gloves are on the lists of those staying in shelters, in addition to non-perishable, non-expired food. Bicycles, generators, N95 masks and tools for clean-up are also needed. Feeding America, World Vision, and AmeriCares are large organizations that are now collecting donations of food, water, and personal hygiene items.
If you are close enough to volunteer (only 6 hours from Richmond to Staten Island, ideal for a weekend roadtrip), check out the Staten Island chapter of Occupy Sandy. Volunteer information can be found at http://www.occupysandystatenisland.tumblr.com . Their hub at St. Margaret Mary Church at 1128 Olympia Road offers all kinds of services for the affected families, including legal and medical aid, as well as information about where to donate and to volunteer around Staten Island, the Rockaways, Red Hook, Coney Island, Howard Beach, and the Lower East Side.
Your voice can also help. Sandy Storyline is a participatory and collaborative documentary aimed to raise awareness about the affects of Hurricane Sandy and recovery efforts. If you or someone you know was affected by the storm, you can share photographs, audio recordings, and written word online at http://www.sandystoryline.com