News coverage of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath – especially in places far from the U.S. east coast – is beginning to wane. But there are still hundreds of thousands of people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut without power, heat and in many cases, plumbing.
They are freezing in their houses and apartments, or taking it day by day in makeshift shelters.
Most of my immediate family members – residents of Long Beach, New York – are among them. When the storm hit, the ocean literally crashed through my mother’s apartment building, filling it with salt water up to the second floor. My sister’s house was flooded from two directions – the ocean and the bay. Oh, and the ocean ate their cars. With most of the town still without power, no one in my family can go home for a long time.
All this to say, people still very much need help! The relief effort still needs volunteers, supplies, and money, and there are still many opportunities for providing all of the above.
According to an article on The Watershed Post – a great, smart source of local news where I live now, in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills – the best way to help, especially if you are too far away to volunteer, is to donate money to relief organizations like The Red Cross.
But there are also more interactive ways to help, including some cool fundraising events. Over at nymag.com, there’s a regularly updated list of nightlife and cultural events raising funds for Sandy relief, including this literary one:
“Defiance: A Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook ” Littlefield; 11/14 at 7 p.m.; 622 Degraw St., nr. Fourth Ave., Gowanus; 718-855-3388 . An all-star lineup of literary types and the people who love them convene for Restore Red Hook, dedicated to raising funds for embattled businesses in the area. $50 gets you a lineup of Kurt Andersen, musicians Steve Earle and Stew, and writers Joseph O’Neill, Sam Lipsyte, Rivka Galchen, Phillip Lopate, Chuck Klosterman, Philip Gourevitch, Meghan O’Rourke, Deborah Baker, and Robert Sullivan. Tickets available Littlefield website.”
Some members of Occupy Wallstreet have put together a coordinated relief effort called Occupy Sandy. Their webpage, interoccupy.net/occupysandy, has useful links to information about volunteering, locating shelters, and donating money. They’ve even created a Sandy “wedding registry” on Amazon where you can order things like flashlights and garbage bags and batteries and other key relief items, to be delivered directly where they’re needed. (At last, an instance in which I have no qualms about ordering from Amazon.) I love the last line of the registry description: “This couple has requested no gift wrap.”
MoveOn.org is accepting donations on behalf of a number of organizations, including New York Communities for Change, New Jersey Food Bank, Island Harvest and Red Hook Initiative.
And here are a few I’m plugging because they are close to my heart – and because they benefit my decimated adjacent hometowns (I grew up in both) of Long Beach and Island Park, New York:
This one and this one help raise money for relief in Island Park, the little town where I spent most of my childhood, and where, after the surrounding water came up about eight feet, people have lost pretty much EVERYTHING. And this one, also benefitting Island Park, offers tee shirts bearing an illustration of the building my mother lives in – well, the building she will hopefully live in again after about six to eight months of repair.