November 11, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
It’s a beautiful day today, clear skies with temps in the high 60s–so different from two weeks ago when Hurricane Sandy slammed our New York Metropolitan and outlying areas. It seems like a heartbeat ago that so many lives, homes, and businesses were swept way in the tidal surges, destroyed in the fires, and beneath the fallen trees. Many are at this moment still without power or heat and it’s getting cold here in the Northeast.
Sandy Hits Home
My family and I were among the fortunate who were only without power and hot water for four days, a mere inconvenience compared to what others have had to and continue to suffer.
Whether or not one knew the the victims personally, it is heartbreaking to hear the stories of devastating loss. We know people who are homeless, moving from one rented spot to another while they struggle to complete mounds of insurance forms, all the while trying to maintain the rest of their disrupted lives.
My friend surveys the remains a neighbor’s home in Fairfield, CT. Photo: Moon PR.
We have other friends who, when ordered to evacuate, were told by police “you don’t have time to get your car keys! run up the street!” Their home narrowly escaped the fire that took three of their neighbor’s homes, but for the moment they are still without gas and will be living with the strong smell of smoke for months to come.
I have a friend who, after staying in four different hotels, came home just in time for the post-hurricane Nor’easter that brought almost a foot of snow to her already devastated town. She’s been sleeping in her winter coat as her home is still without heat, but feels really lucky her house is still standing–albeit amid the rubble of neighboring houses. For residents of Staten Island, Breezy Point and Far Rockaway in Queens, parts of New Jersey and other severely hit areas, it will be a very long time before life even begins to resemble normal.
How You Can Help
Established relief agencies and generous volunteers (many of whom were victims themselves) have pitched in to help those affected by this devastating storm. Many are asking what they can do to help. Here is how you can volunteer or make a donation to a relief charity to support storm-hit businesses and communities.
This site is a good resource for comparing the various relief organizations. They rate charities by evaluating fundamental areas of performance like the organization’s financial health, accountability, and transparency. The ratings are meant to indicate how efficiently a charity will use donor support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, as well as the particular charity’s level of commitment to accountability and transparency.
Donate Today, Save Tomorrow
This online platform built by and unveiled today by Gilt.com, the members-only shopping site, allows you to donate funds to your choice of six supporting charities and receive a voucher for a special offer from any one participating business–some of whom were affected by the storm.
Donating Your “Time, Passion, and Skills”
If you are in the local area and would like to volunteer your time, clothing, goods, or even blood–check out the New York City government’s service site, NYC Service. This site also hooks you up to the proper local distribution channels.
Photos: Unless otherwise noted, from AP.