The devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy is still being assessed, but there are several ways you can help those affected by storm. The information below is compiled from FEMA.
We will update this post with the most up-to-date and location-specific information as it becomes available. Be sure to check back regularly.
- Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
- Be safe: Do not self deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.
- Be patient: Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster - especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.
- Several state and local agencies will be looking for volunteers to help with the disaster recovery. Learn more by visiting the links below.
- National: American Red Cross
- Connecticut: American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter
- Massachusetts: Boston Cares
- New Jersey: New Jersey Emergency Response Hotline
- New York: New York Cares, American Red Cross: Greater New York Region, Long Island Volunteer Center, The Volunteer Center, NYC Service
- Pennsylvania: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
- Rhode Island: Serve Rhode Island
The need for blood rises during disasters of this scale, and this problem is exacerbated in affected areas where blood drives may have been cancelled. You can locate information about donating through the American Red Cross or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Cash donations are very useful in situations where supplies must be acquired quickly. This is the most efficient way to make an impact with your donations. If you need help in determining who to give to, the National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major nonprofits that are active in disaster work or you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.
Don't Send Unsolicited Donations
One of the biggest issues around disasters is the amount of unsolicited item donations that start to come in immediately. It's better to wait until communities assess and confirm their needs before you start to send things in. At that time, you can make your donations through non-profits in the National Donations Management Network.