Over the last week you have seen the destruction left by hurricane Sandy in our city, and many others. Thank you for your emails and checking in on us. Luckily our neighborhood in Queens made out fairly well and we are fine. Others in New york City, however are in a desperate situation; Tottenville and Midland Beach in Staten Island, Red Hook and Coney Island in Brooklyn, The Rockaways in Queens, just to name a few. On a personal note, I was able to make it to the Rockaways, bring some supplies, and volunteer over the last couple of days. For those of you not familiar with New York City, this is the peninsula where Breezy Point is located, where over 100 homes burned to the ground.
Up the whole 11 mile peninsula and Broad Channel island to the north, many neighborhoods that are home to well over 100,000 people were completely flooded out and now have no electricity, heat, water, means of communication, or access to adequate transportation. Many homes were severely damaged or were completely destroyed. It is the type of devastation that can only be understood with your own eyes. At this time, smaller and grassroots organizations (even Ad-hoc groups) are the most effective in bringing able-bodies and aid directly to people who need it most: Extra hands to to distribute food and supplies or shovel sand out of basements, legs to walk up 12 flights of stairs, to deliver food, warm clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies, flashlights, batteries, etc. Cars (even with the gas shortage) to deliver much needed aid to different parts of the peninsula.
I ask you to please help these groups who are currently mobilizing resources throughout New York and New Jersey in any way you can. If you can’t donate money and live in the tri-state area, show up to one of these groups many locations and you will be put to work immediately. If you can, pick up whatever you can fit into a backpack (batteries, hand sanitizer, flashlights, non perishable food, etc.) along the way. If you do not live in the tri-state, contact these groups and they will tell you exactly what they need. If you can’t give money or supplies, send them an email telling them thank you; it will keep them moving.