December 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts: How You Can Still Help


A list of volunteer organizations working to help hurricane victims.

By New York Family & Meredith Greene


Superstorm Sandy passed in and out of the metropolitan area in approximately 12 hours—but the need to support affected families continues. Relief efforts are moving their focus from addressing immediate issues like power, water, clothes, food, and temporary shelter to longer-term challenges surrounding home- and community-rebuilding, infrastructure, and emergency preparedness. Some needs are evolving, but others are still immediate and critical. The common denominator is that your help really can make a difference. We’ve gathered a list of organizations and groups that are on the frontlines of Sandy relief in various ways. A lot of the information is very time-sensitive, so visit their websites for more info—and if you hear of something that appeals to you, please spread the word.

Groups On The Front Lines

The American Red Cross has provided extensive relief to those whose homes were ruined by the storm, offering basic health care, food, shelter, and emotional support to both families and emergency workers. Find out about blood donation and volunteer opportunities by visiting their website. redcross.org

Founded on the simple idea that food should not go to waste, City Harvest rescues and redistributes excess food to 600 community programs throughout New York. In addition to its regular delivery routes, City Harvest is currently transporting fare to Sandy victims at public shelters. cityharvest.org

Read a story about the Rockaways and nine times out of ten the Community Church of the Nazarene is a focal point of the relief effort. They give out hot meals and also organize volunteers to distribute food, supplies, and any other kind of help that’s needed. 1414 Central Ave, Far Rockaway; Contact Rev. Samuel Reid at 718-327-5242

At Donorschoose.org, monetary donations go toward classroom supplies requests posted by public school teachers—and, of course, you choose where your money will go. The organization has reportedly received a huge influx of Sandy-related requests. donorschoose.org

Family-to-Family (F-to-F) is a national hunger relief organization dedicated to making one-to-one relationships between families that have “more” and impoverished American families that have profoundly less. And they set up a special initiative to help provide local post-Sandy families in need with essentials. family-to-family.org

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting donations and volunteers for their disaster relief efforts. Those in need can visit their website to register for assistance and read updates on FEMA’s progress. Recovery centers have been assembled in Coney Island, Breezy Point, Rockaway Park, and Staten Island. fema.gov

The major hunger relief organization in the area, the Food Bank For New York City, organizes food, information, and support for community survival and dignity. Families can either donate to their emergency fund or volunteer to join the response team towards Sandy relief. foodbanknyc.org

generation On, the youth division of Points of Light Institute, partners with a number of local youth service organizations that both raise children’s awareness of community issues and teach them practical ways to combat such problems. Visit their website to learn how kids can participate in the Be A Joy Maker campaign in which Hasbro donates to Toys for Tots through December 18. generationon.org

Global Dirt acts as an intermediary between larger organizations, hospitals, military, and the victims in disaster-stricken parts of the globe. They’ve set up in the Rockaways to help coordinate relief efforts. globaldirt.org

Green City Force is a service corps that prepares young people from low-income backgrounds for sustainable careers, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the eco-friendly city we want for our future. Corps Members have been volunteering their time with relief organizations like the Red Hook Initiative, Build It Green!, and Solar One. Families can donate to or volunteer with Green City Force directly. greencityforce.org

Given the countless families that had to evacuate during the storm, The Humane Society is offering unparalleled support for food- and shelter-seeking pets. This animal rescue organization accepts donations on its website and provides regular updates regarding pet-friendly shelters and other local resources on Facebook and Twitter. humanesociety.org

It Takes A Family brings families affected by Hurricane Sandy together with families who want to help them. By “adopting” a family in need through the winter, you can send them monthly packages of essentials and gift cards while providing them with emotional support. ittakesafamily.net

Financial donations to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will go entirely to hurricane relief efforts, for both immediate and long-term recovery. Founded nearly twenty years ago, this not-for-profit fosters public-private partnerships in support of public programs that advance New York City. nyc.gov/fund

Our city’s largest volunteer organization, New York Cares, is a wonderful way to volunteer and know that you’re giving your time where it’s needed the most. The organization is hosting a coat drive until December 31, in which coats can be donated at any New York City police precinct or public library. newyorkcares.org

The New York Foundling has helped thousands of children and families through a wide variety of social, economic, and medical support services, embracing the “Abandon No One” principle. The Foundling’s Hurricane Relief Fund aids foster families and other Sandy victims in their recovery. nyfoundling.org

The city’s NYC Service website offers a variety of ways to get involved in the cleanup and recovery efforts throughout the five boroughs. As they receive more information, more opportunities will be added and current listings are being updated. nycservice.org

Occupy Sandy Recovery is a coordinated effort to help distribute resources and volunteers in neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy. It’s a coalition of people and organizations dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for resource distribution. Members of the coalition are from various grassroots organizations such as Occupy Wall Street, interoccupy.net, recovers.org, and 350.org, among others. The website posts regular reports, updates, and calls for assistance. interoccupy.net/occupysandy

Project Hospitality, a private not-for-profit organization based in Staten Island, provides comprehensive services for hungry, homeless, and inadequately housed people, especially those who are living with multiple diagnoses such as HIV, substance use, and/or mental illness. As the only comprehensive homeless service provider in the borough of Staten Island, Project Hospitality serves more than 5,000 residents each year—and has been deeply involved in Sandy relief through a separate relief fund that it has assembled. projecthospitality.org

Recovers.org is community software that efficiently organizes volunteers, donations, and information, especially during times of emergency management. The software has helped a number of local communities in crisis come together following Sandy, including Astoria, the Lower East Side, Staten Island, Red Hook, and Hoboken. recovers.org

The Red Hook Initiative emphasizes the importance of empowering youth to ensure brighter futures for both individual children and their communities. The organization accepts monetary donations but primarily requests the help of volunteers in their ongoing hurricane relief efforts in supply and distribution centers. rhicenter.org

Given the success of its 9/11 relief efforts, the Robin Hood Foundation has reactivated its fund in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Partnering with more than 240 local charities, the foundation allocates its donations to where they’re needed most. robinhood.org

Monetary donations to The Salvation Army will help the organization in providing food, water, and shelter to those devastated by the hurricane. In-kind donations such as clothing or furniture are being accepted and can be dropped off at your local Salvation Army Family Store. use.salvationarmy.org

Save the Children has rescued youth in America and across the globe from all types of disasters—poverty, hunger, sickness, as well as natural disasters. Today, Save the Children is providing Sandy victims with food, clothing, baby blankets, and hygiene supplies. savethechildren.org

Temple B’nai Jeshurun has been at the forefront of relief efforts in Brooklyn and other parts of the city. See the Social Justice part of their website to learn more about their Hurricane Sandy supplies and volunteer needs. bj.org

UJA-Federation of New York: Our local United Jewish Appeal-Federation has set up an emergency fund to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. All monies will go towards supporting agencies and communities in need of support, with no administrative costs coming out of donations. The New York Jewish community has benefited from the philanthropic works of the UJA-Federation for more than 90 years. To make a donation online, click here.

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