12 Ways to Help Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

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In New York City, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to unfold. Though my apartment--and neighborhood--in Brooklyn escaped the devastating natural disaster unscathed, the scene is drastically different in other close-by areas most affected by the storm. From the more than 100 homes in Breezy Point, Queens, that burned to the ground to power-less residents of Lower Manhattan, the multibillion-dollar natural disaster is effecting the day-to-day lives of many people today and in the days, weeks, months--and probably years--to come. Hurricane Sandy disaster relief programs need support and, whether you live near or far, there many ways you can help.

Most recent update: November 5, 2012.

The most obvious way to help Hurricane Sandy victims is to reach out to your personal network. If you know anyone in the areas hit by the storm, ask how they are doing and if they need anything. Acknowledging the fact that a natural disaster has taken place goes a long way. A home-cooked meal, clean sheets, a shower, an outlet, a glass of water goes even further. Offering your home, shower, or electricity to friends and family is a great way to be of service to friends in need.

© Emma Grady. Commuting on foot: walking the Brooklyn Bridge to get into Manhattan.

If you are able to safely make donations of clothing, blood, food, money, or your time, there are plenty local and national organizations that need support. Get started, here:

How To: Volunteer Your Time, Skills, and Supplies

1. New York Cares is driving a number of Hurricane Sandy relief projects, from composting with Build It Green! in Queens to a Clean-Up at Franz Sigel Park in The Bronx.

2. The NYC Mayor's Office is urging people to sign up through NYC Service. They are seeking volunteers for various efforts (via Gothamist).

3. Staten Island Recovers is coordinating "community-powered disaster recover" for Staten Island. They are accepting donations of clothing, tools, and any other helpful items you may have (via Time Out NY).

4. New York Tech Meetup is looking for tech all-stars to lend their skills and help small businesses get their websites back up and running (via Time Out NY).

5. NYC.gov lists Public Emergency Shelters for Hurricane Sandy, which need volunteers and donations. If you are close by, or can get there safely, you can inquire directly to see what help and supplies is needed (via Support Victims of Hurricane Sandy on Facebook).

6. Food Not Bombs is seeking volunteers and donations for its Northeast chapters in NYC, Boston and Philadelphia (via via Time Out NY).

7. Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope needs volunteers to help today and tomorrow preparing food and making deliveries. You can sign up for a shift, here. They are also accepting donations of candles, batteries, flashlights, water, non-perishables, and more for shelters in Red Hook.

8. Occupy Sandy is rocking the relief effort by coordinating volunteers and collecting donations, which are distributed to hard-hit neighborhoods, via a hub in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Members of the coalition include: Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org, and interoccupy.net. Follow their tweets @OccupySandy for frequent and up-to-date "on the ground updates." (Thanks, readers, for the tip.)

© Emma Grady. A Hurricane Sandy-damaged crane dangles 90 stories above Midtown Manhattan.

Where To: Donate Supplies, Blood, and Money

9. The Salvation Army is aiding those in crisis with hot meals, water, and shelter. To send a $10 donation via text message, you can text the word STORM to 80888, and confirm the donation with the word, “Yes.” They are also accepting used clothing and furniture donations to local Salvation Army locations (via NBC News).

10. The Food Bank For New York City is distributing emergency food and supplies. To donate, text FBNYC to 50555 or make a monetary contribution online. Their local food pantries and kitchens also need disaster response volunteers--sign up, here (via Gothamist).

11. The Humane Society is leading pet search and rescue efforts. To support their initiatives, click here.

12. The Brooklyn Recovery Fund is aiding local Brooklyn nonprofits, civic institutions, and small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy (via Support Victims of Hurricane Sandy on Facebook).

13. The American Red Cross is offering shelter, clothing, supplies, food and blood to Hurricane Sandy victims. To donate $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, text the word REDCROSS to 90999 or you can call 800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To donate blood, visit the Red Cross website (via NBC News).

More Handy Post-Sandy Info

NYC.gov lists food and water distribution locations and times in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and Manhattan.

New York Sports Club is offering their gym and shower facilities free of charge to anyone in need of a shower, sauna, and work out. With locations throughout the city, the clubs are open to local residents, age 18 and older, with proper ID today until November 14, Well + Good NYC reports.

Did I miss something? Do you know of any other volunteer opportunities? Add it in the comments section, below.

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Tags: Brooklyn | Natural Disasters | New Jersey | New York City

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