After the Storm: 10 Ways to Help Those Affected by Sandy
Sandy ripped through the east coast last night with brutal force, taking with her homes, businesses, boardwalks, building fronts, 16 lives, beloved oaks and willows, the power of 2 million people’s homes, and the NYU Hospital’s backup generator. While the east coast flooded, generators exploded and fires blazed, nurses bravely carried newborns down nine flights of stairs while others manually bagged patients previously on ventilators. Crews of about two in each of the almost 100 ambulances parked outside the hospital were ready to transport patients to Mt. Sinai and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
City officials, FEMA, police and fire departments, local shelters and countless other volunteers are donating their time and health in an effort to pull these horribly damaged areas back together.
If you are home – comfortable or uncomfortable, with or without power – wondering what you can do to help those around you, here are 10 ways to get involved. The smallest effort matters and could change the disposition of even one panic stricken neighbor.
- Get involved with the temporary community taking cover at a local shelter. Most land lines are down, so your best bet is scouring the Internet for local shelter locations. If you can charge your phone in your house or car, see where you may be needed. Whether it be to donate blankets, help serve food, watch over children or help with any sort of general organization, your help will surely be appreciated.
- Donate food to a shelter. Chances are that food shelters are packed with hungry children, tired parents and slowly diminishing food supplies. If you can’t get a hold of a shelter, try a local church for information on which shelters may need you. If they don’t currently need any assistance, make a large serving of food and offer to stay on call if they happen to run out. Worse comes to worst, you can freeze the food and reheat it for dinner in the future.
- Scout out a local cleaning crew. There is likely someone within your town’s officials, local churches, or simply your neighbor’s home that could use the extra hand in cleaning out homes. Sure, you may not be a restoration expert but there are jobs that could lighten the loads of those that are.
- Offer your home as a place of reprieve. Some on Facebook have already taken to this idea, posting statuses directed towards friends that are able to connect to the Internet by phone. Offer a place to shower, sleep, or a meal if you can. If you personally can’t, start a Facebook event for neighbors and community members so those who can offer a place are aware that they are needed and can be connected to those who seek shelter more efficiently.
- Offer emotional and mental support. Those trapped are now being rescued. Your neighbor’s husband, wife, son or daughter could very well be a state trooper, firefighter or volunteer who is out trying to save families from the flooding. See if he or she needs a confidant or someone to spend time with to ease the worrying.
- Offer temporary childcare or pet services. Some friends or neighbors want to check on their elderly parents, grown children or family friends that they haven’t been able to get in contact with. Some of these people are parents or pet owners who don’t want to bring their children out on the roads, much less leave them home alone. Offer a safe place for kids or pets to take shelter for a few hours while their parents or owners check on others.
- Make sure your neighbors have enough water and non-perishable foods. Some may have not taken the warnings seriously as a result of last year’s brush with Irene. If you can leave your house and are aware of neighbors who held this perspective, see if they could use any of your extra supplies.
- Keep up with the news. Follow twitter, online media, television, and pay attention to the calls your township may be making to inform you of any further warnings or mandates. Your knowledge may help a friend, neighbor, family member, or present another opportunity to extend a helping hand to your community.
- Take care of yourself. You can only help if you’re in good condition yourself! Make sure you’re healthy – both body and mind – by drinking water, eating foods that provide energy, getting enough rest and keeping calm. Your community would no doubt love your help but take care of yourself first. If you need rest, food or a few hours to clear your head, take the chance to do so and offer your help when you’re feeling better. Sandy’s damage won’t be fixed overnight, and your help will be just as valuable tonight, tomorrow, or the next day.
- Get involved with our #24BeYou Twitter chat tomorrow night. Pulling together as a national community is extremely important. Come out and share ideas of how you helped others, how others helped you, or what you wish you saw happen differently. 7 PM, twitter & don’t forget to use the #24BeYou tag to have your voice heard! You can tweet at either our Editor in Chief Vanessa @24Blogazine, our Guest Host @DivasandDorks or Fashion and News Editor (me) @BreeGladd. In times like these we need to offer and receive support and hope – this is exactly what we hope #24BeYou chats do each week. We hope to see you there!
Thank for reading. Stay safe! If you are in need of assistance, visit Redcross.org/find-help