I’ve been here all week working and helping and it’s been a lot of things: crazy, intense, and amazing to see the strength and resilience of those who have been hit the hardest. I don’t have time for a full-fledged update right now, but I wanted to make sure to get the word out about a few things.
Check out this post I published on Snoo.ws to read about what I’ve been doing. (I work for ICUC, and Snoo.ws is ICUC’s blog – it’s part of my job!). Also, look for me on social media (www.facebook.com/rose.m.duggan and @RadRoseDuggan) to see pics!
If you want to help now, the needs have shifted from what originally was asked for. Canned foods and clothing have rolled into NY and NJ in surplus amounts. So hang on to your winter coat, there are other ways to help.
People still do NOT have power. Their needs are: generators, gas, extension cords, batteries of ALL sizes, flashlights, candles, lighters, head lamps. Portable stoves or ways to cook without power is rad as well. And can openers! Cans everywhere and yet… no way to open them without making a mess.
Homes that have been flooded MUST be gutted, stripped and re-built. Any TOOLS are needed, work gloves – I cannot stress enough the importance of work gloves and dust masks / respirators. Shovels of all kinds, axes, sledge hammers, crowbars, the suits you can wear over your clothes to protect your skin from insulation fibers – WORK GLOVES, DUST MASKS.
The air is full of debris and dust from all the demo – it’s crazy.
Clean up: In homes where the storm surged flooded the entire basement and first floor, there is this black mucky mud everywhere you can see. BLEACH is a needed item. BLEACH, please send BLEACH!!! There is also a profound need for cleaners of all kinds, rubber gloves, mops, brooms, scrub brushes, sponges, rags, towels, paper towels or shop towels. Buckets, mops, mops, mops. and BLEACH!
Moving stuff around: If it has wheels, it can be used. Bags, backpacks, luggage – anything that people without access to cars and gas can use to get around and get supplies around. Wagons and wheelbarrows, bikes, etc. have become necessary entities.
Of course groups like The Red Cross and other big names have been helping.
If you’re looking for smaller, more direct organizations to get involved with, I would suggest looking for grass roots agents. The people-driven, community based groups are having a profound impact. Local restaurants have been donating food and coffee – you could call a locally owned coffee shop in a hardhit area and offer to sponsor coffee for a day to relief workers.
My favorites are:
192 Ebbitts Street, Staten Island NY. You could send Home Depot, Walmart, K-mart, or Visa/Mastercard gift cards to this address, with “care of Gina” or “care of Frank” on the envelope, and people who can help will be able to get in touch. Another great contact point for grassroots work is a man named Mike “Loco” Hoffman – find him on Fb or on Twitter @TheMikeLoco.
The Unitarian Church of Staten Island: 312 Fillmore Street New York, NY 10301; (718) 447-2204 has also been amazing. Check them out on Fb: https://www.facebook.com/uucsi?fref=ts
Occupy Sandy has been an incredible force in organizing people and dispatching volunteers to where it’s most needed.
And of course, FDNY and NYPD have been helping around the clock. This Fb group, FDNY Incidents, has been helping people meet needs as well: https://www.facebook.com/FdnyIncidents?fref=ts
And finally… THE HOLIDAYS
I’ll be working on a grassroots project we’ve dubbed “Sandy Claus” working to bring Christmas, Hanukkah and the holidays to kids/families who’ve been affected by Sandy. We’ll be working out ways to connect donors to those who could use some cheer. Stand by in the next week or so for info on that idea to develop! I will let everyone know.
THANK YOU so much to all who’ve shown support, interest, love… all your kind thoughts, prayers, donations and LOVE have gone so far down here.
I’ll check back in soon with more pics and with stories I’ve been hearing all week.