BwoB staffers, Maggy Keet and Lillian Huang both live in New York. Here they talk about Hurricane Sandy from their experience and list several ways that you can help, whether you’re near or far.
The beaches of Long Island hold special memories for me as I grew up in eastern Long Island. There were many beach picnics with my family and friends as well as cookouts with my church each summer. In more recent years, after moving to Nassau County, I would attend the annual Long Beach arts & crafts festival held every summer on the boardwalk. It was an event I eagerly awaited because I would get to indulge on funnel cakes, fried Oreos, corn dogs, and other fun fair foods.
What’s even more special about Long Beach is that my husband and I had our wedding portraits taken there – yes, on the beach. It was during the off-season and we were the only souls on the beach (besides the photographer). I was so grateful to have such a beautiful setting for my wedding photos.
As we all know, superstorm Sandy hit the Tri-State area last week destroying countless homes and neighborhoods, including my beloved Long Beach. The boardwalk, where I sat and enjoyed funnel cakes, is shattered. Homes were burned to the ground from electrical fires. The images are the same all over the South Shore of Long Island, the Rockaways, and the Jersey Shore. It is a heart-breaking reality and now it’s time to pick up the pieces.
We live in Manhattan, uptown, far from the water, and on the 9th floor. While there were a few scary moments, we were okay. Miraculously, we didn’t even lose power. While we didn’t personally suffer a loss, we felt devastated for our city and our neighbors in New Jersey, Connecticut, and beyond. And we felt sick for our friends as reports started rolling in about what had been lost.
In these moments, we’ve all felt the same thing, a deep and very human need to do something. Donate, volunteer, support – to be a part of the collective effort to help and heal. Sometimes that means donating money to nonprofits or time to a clean-up crew. But sometimes it means you get to directly help someone you know. And after Sandy, I did.
An old friend of mine lost everything when her basement apartment in Rockaway flooded with seawater and sewage. I hadn’t seen her in years, but still I couldn’t ignore her Facebook status update: “I am dreading the aftermath when the water is all pumped out – will there be anything to salvage? My head is dizzy thinking about all that has to be replaced. I have never felt this way. Ever.”
Though we hadn’t been in touch, I decided to reach out and call her. I asked what she needed. Could I bring them dinner? She didn’t hesitate: “That would be great!” So I made a big pot of chili. That’s what food people feel called to do when something awful happens – they cook.
Some of you are near, others are far, but if you can’t cook for someone, we wanted to provide a few ways that you can help out. Many of you have already donated your time and money to relief efforts across the tri-state area, but as is the case with almost every disaster, the damage will remain long after the media has gone.
Here’s a list of groups making an impact on the front lines; on the ground coordinating volunteers and donations, providing hot meals, crucial necessities, and lending a hand to those in need. Please continue to keep all of the affected people in your thoughts as many still do not have power, and now, have to battle cold temperatures and snow.
Here’s how you can contribute:
NYC Mayor’s Fund - The City is currently identifying immediate aid needs, including food, water and hygiene supplies, as well as long-term relief and restoration efforts. 100% goes towards hurricane relief efforts. You can also specify that your donation is for the NYC food truck emergency outreach
Amazon Registry (NYC) – lists specific items needed for NYC relief efforts
City of Long Beach Relief – there are 35,000 residents of Long Beach that were affected by the hurricane, help rebuild the city
Amazon Registry (Long Beach) – lists specific items needed for Long Beach relief efforts
Occupy Sandy NYC (including Brooklyn & Queens)
Occupy Sandy New Jersey
Long Island Volunteer Center
Long Beach Hurricane Information Facebook Page - updated daily with donation and volunteer needs