Friday, November 9, 2012

Be Like Big Bird

Sesame Street did an episode about a hurricane hitting the neighborhood (airing November 9, 2012). The residents came together to clean up emphasizing the importance of service and community. I swear, Sesame Street teaches lessons for all ages! It was my favorite as a kid and maybe I need to start watching again.
It has been a bit since my last post courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. Luckily Ash and I didn’t have any major damage. We lost some trees and lost power/internet but we don’t have flood damage in my area. I can survive a little cold and 2 hour lines to fill up my car…but maybe in the future, I will invest in a generator.
Since I got my power back, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what I can do to help. After all, life really isn’t worth much if you’re keeping your blessings to yourself. I’ve taken in friends and donated items but there are lots of options to get involved. Talking to friends and co-workers who lost loved ones, homes, cars, etc. or those that are still without power 2 weeks later really pushed me forward. I'm determined to do my part as I've been blessed not to be in grieving through those circumstances. If you are interested in helping, here are a few options.

If you aren’t in the area and can’t make it here to do physical work, several shelters have set up websites listing items that they need. You can buy in person and take them to your local shipping provider or you can log on and shop through sites like Amazon, Target and Walmart and have the items you buy shipped to a shelter/organization you want to support. At least one shelter in New Jersey set up a hurricane registry using Amazon’s wedding registry section. You can log on, buy exactly what they need and Amazon will take care of the rest. If you're buying on your own and not off of a list, check with the shelter/organization first so they can tell you what they need.
Truck navigating flooded roads in Southampton, NY.

You can also text to donate money. Here are a few options:

American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Salvation Army: Text STORM to 80888 to donate $10.

World Vision: Text the word GIVEUSA to 777444 to donate $10.

United Methodist Committee On Relief: Text the word RESPONSE to 80888 to donate $10.

Jewish Federations Of North America Hurricane Relief Fund: Text the word RELIEF to 51818 and choose your donation amount.

American Humane Association: Text the word HUMANE to 80888 to donate $10.

Flooded homes in Seaside, NJ

There are many organizations—both national and local—driving recovery efforts. If you want to do more than text, you can call organizations to see how you can best help. Here are a few:

Community Food Bank Of New Jersey: This group coordinates efforts with the state's Office of Emergency Management, as well as with state and local nonprofit organizations. Phone: (908) 355- FOOD (3663), ext. 243. Website

Feeding America: The organization will deliver food, water and supplies to communities in need through its network of food banks and the agencies they serve. Phone: 800-910-5524. Website

Catholic Charities USA: Catholic Charities provides emergency food, shelter, direct financial assistance, counseling, and support "regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds." Phone: 800-919-9338. Website

Flooded subway station at 86th Street.
Americares: This group provides emergency medicine and supplies. Donations are accepted on its website. Phone: 800-486-4357. Website

New York Cares: This local NYC program is "the city's largest volunteer organization, running volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies and public schools." It is recruiting volunteers to help with Sandy relief efforts, and is also raising money. Phone: 212-228-5000. Website

World Vision: This is a Christian humanitarian organization providing flood clean-up kits, hygiene kits, blankets and food kits. Phone: 888-511-6443. Website

United Methodist Committee On Relief: Provides immediate relief, assistance with cleanup and rebuilding, pastoral counseling and support for children and youth who have been through trauma. Phone: 800-554-8583. Website

Dog rescue in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

If you want to help with pets injured or displaced by the hurricane, the Humane Society and the American Humane Association are working on rescue projects.

Humane Society of the United States: For those who had to evacuate and couldn’t take their pets with them, the Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team is assembling staff and equipment to help rescue pets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Phone: 301-258-8276. Website
American Humane Association: The association is helping animals that may need rescue or shelter. Phone: 866-242-1877.

Rock and Rawhide: This organization is doing a food/blanket drive to benefit pet owners and homeless pets hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Donations are being accepted at all Petco and Petco Unleashed locations in Manhattan from Friday through November 18th. To kick off this food/blanket drive, a pop concert will be held this Saturday, November 10th from noon to 3:00pm outside the Petco Union Square Store on 17th and Broadway. Website

Home destroyed by Hurrican Sandy.
Finally, some organizations have also set up Facebook pages to keep people informed about what they can do to help. For example, Staten Island Hurricane Relief Community Assistance Portal and Jersey Shore Hurricane News have set up pages for updates and ways to help.

Flooded cab lot in NYC. 
As much information as this is, it is not everything. Truly, it doesn’t begin to cover the large number of organizations helping out. If you know of another organization helping out, feel free to post it in the comment section. Do your part to help survivors get through this recovery effort.

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