Over the last few days my inbox has been filled with messages from people wanting to know how best to help those still in need from Hurricane Sandy. I can’t tell you how much their generosity and compassion has meant to me personally.

As I continue to meet with families still suffering, my heart aches for their unspeakable hardships, but I am constantly astounded at the level of determination and hopefulness of New Yorkers. 

It is with their struggle and courage in mind I wanted to provide you some useful links to donate and volunteer towards the relief effort.

Thank you again for your compassion and generosity.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is playing a critical role in the Hurricane Sandy disaster recovery effort. As the Red Cross continues to mobilize resources and relief workers to respond to Hurricane Sandy’s impact, your help is desperately needed to provide essential aid including shelter, meals, basic health care, emotional support and other emergency services.

To make a donation to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, you can go to the following sitehttp://www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy or you can call 1-800-REDCROSS. To learn of other ways you can help, including volunteering, you can visit the following site http://www.redcross.org/support. To find out more on the specific efforts of the American Red Cross of Greater New York Region, please visit http://www.nyredcross.org/

United Way

The  United Way of New York City and United Ways along the Eastern Seabord have established the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund to address near-term and long-term recovery needs of communities most affected by the hurricane. Contributions to the Fund will be used by United Ways in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia to address recovery needs in communities that FEMA has declared disaster areas. We give our sincere thanks to United Way of New York City who will manage the regional fund.

Visit www.UWSandyRecovery.org to donate to the Fund. You can also use your phone to text RECOVERY to 52000 to make a $10 donation.

There are three things we’d like you to consider doing to help out:
1. On your website, add a link to the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund –www.UWSandyRecovery.org, and information about the text-to-give option – text RECOVERY to 52000 to make a $10 donation.
2. Promote the Fund link and text-to-give option in social media (use #sandyfund)
3. Promote the use of 2-1-1 and 211us.org for people seeking help as well as seeking opportunities to volunteer.

2-1-1s: Connect with Human Services as well as Volunteer Opportunities

Hurricane Sandy has battered countless United Way communities up and down the Eastern Seabord and across the Northeast. United Way 2-1-1s have been activated by Governors or State Offices of Emergency Management in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina. Please encourage your family and friends affected by this storm to reach out to United Way 2-1-1 for assistance, and whether they are affected or not, 2-1-1 can help connect people with volunteer opportunities. Visit www.211us.org to connect with your 2-1-1 online and follow @211us on Twitter.

Food banks in New York City and Long Island need help with donations

In the next several days they will need water and food that New Yorkers can store and eat without requiring refrigeration and heating. Examples of these types of foods are: peanut butter, tuna in foil packages, bread, crackers, energy bars, canned fruits, etc.

All of the charities would also appreciate monetary donations and most have websites where this can easily be done. In many cases monetary donations are a higher priority over the longer-term as this allows the organizations to target resources where they are most needed.  Please note that many of the organizations are currently experiencing trouble with their phones.

Below is the contact information for food banks in New York City and Long Island.

City Harvest: Donations can be made online at http://www.cityharvest.org/donate-funds/ or over the phone at 646.412.0643 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. To make a food donation, please contact: Racine Rodriguez at 347.443.8413 or [email protected].

The Met Council: To make an immediate difference, text the word SUSTAIN to 20222 and reply YES to make a $10 donation directly to Met Council. You can also easily make your gift online (www.metcouncil.org). Volunteers are greatly needed to hand out food and water to seniors who are without electricity. Please call before you arrive, but participants should arrive at 171 Lexington Avenue and be prepared to climb stairs. Please bring a flashlight to use, there is no lighting. Please also bring bottles of water, batteries, apples, and bananas to distribute to our low income seniors.  There will also be a collection spot at 171 Lexington Avenue to drop off bottled water.  If you would like to provide essential supplies to those in need, please ship them to the Met Council Food Warehouse at 5361 Preston Court, Brooklyn, New York 11234. The pressing needs are currently for these items: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, toiletries, diapers, wipes, baby formula, canned vegetables and fruits, nuts, hand sanitizer, peanut butter, and parmalat milk.  They are unable to accept additional items at this time.

Food Bank of NYC: The warehouse is located at Hunts Point Cooperative Market, 355 Food Center Drive Bronx, NY 10474. Their phone is 718.991.4300.  They need volunteers at their warehouse.

Island Harvest: The following items are needed: bottled water, vitamin water, healthy snack bars, peanut butter, crackers, pop-top food cans such as tuna and chili.  If you would like to donate, please call the Emergency Food Collections Center at 631-873-4775. Donations can be dropped off on weekdays before 3PM at Hauppauge Warehouse, 40 Marcus Blvd, Hauppauge. You can also call the Emergency Food Collections Center at 631-873-4775.

Long Island Cares: Is accepting donations at The Harry Chapin Food Bank, 10 Davids Drive (Harry Chapin Way), Hauppauge, NY 11788-2039.  You can also call (631) 582-FOOD or email[email protected].

Sustainable Long Island: You can make a donation at http://sustainableli.org/ or by calling (516) 873-0230.

Tips to Consider Before You Donate:

  • Give to only charities you know and trust.
  • Check a charity before you donate. See the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity/.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight.
  • Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser, who they works for, and what percent of your donation goes to the charity vs. the fundraiser.
  • Don’t give out personal or financial information unless you know the charity is reputable.
  • Never send cash. You can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.