Some of you shared with us your plans for hunkering down with various forms of alcoholic beverages and seasons of the L Word, Real or otherwise, and now all of you who did indeed spend the storm hunkered down with television and alcohol are eager to help out those who didn't.
You've seen the photos of New York, you've seen the photos of New Jersey underwater, you know one or twenty or one hundred of the millions of people without power. Lizz, a queer artist in New Jersey, just told me that the power company just called her and said she can expect power again on November 11th.
Major natural disasters connect us at the basic core of humanity; they also highlight vast economic and cultural disparities with the human (and non-human) suffering that results.
There are a lot of political hot button issues Frankenstorm Sandy is forcing us to face to the tune of billions of dollars, not the least of which is climate change. Lots of people were up in arms about Mayor Bloomberg's possible plan to go ahead with the NYC Marathon Sunday. (The NYC Marathon has since been cancelled.)
If you're someone in the NY area who's minimally affected by these issues, you don't need to feel guilty, but you should feel grateful. And you can channel that into helping the people who are still in dire need of help. Lower-income areas especially haven't received the same level of support that other parts of the city have, and marginalized people have even more issues to deal with during an extreme weather crisis than their more privileged neighbors – for instance, in areas where power is out, electronic benefit cards can't be used to buy food. Sandy has made economic divisions of the area even more extreme than usual. There are people who still need help urgently, but they may be in parts of the city that the news isn't talking about. So if you're lucky enough that you and the people you love are taken care of, please, help take care of other people, too.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
NYC area community efforts:
- Fellow Brooklyn resident and Autostraddle writer Katrina gathered resources for those looking to volunteer their time and money to help those impacted by the storm in Brooklyn. This is a great resource for under-served areas like The Rockaways, which was devastated by the storm and many residents haven't eaten for days.
- Dykes on Bicycles sent out a call for volunteers for several initiatives in the LES and Red Hook.
- A fundraising initiative with a goal of raising $500,000 for those living in Breezy Point, Queens has raised nearly $23,000 and explains their goal of rebuilding a destroyed community.
- Lower East Side recovers is organizing funds, volunteers and tracking the needs of the LES community in conjunction with OccupySandy.
- HSUS is on the ground in NY and NJ providing emergency animal shelters and accepting donations of $10 via text message; text ANIMALS to 20222" to make a donation to the HSUS Disaster Relief Fund. New York City evacuees with pets at home: Please call 347-573-1561 for help reuniting with your animals.
- The Red Hook Initiative is doing amazing work including serving hundreds of hot meals to the Red Hook Community and sending out doctors to make house-calls, follow @rhinitiative for up-to-date donation needs
- The Park Slope Armory is housing many evacuees and is in need of volunteers, including those able to stay for late night shifts
- The Cinnamon Snail is offering free vegan food from their vegan food truck to those in the Rockaways and to others impacted by Sandy. You can donate to support their work by sending money by PayPal to [email protected]
- An online resource for those working to reunite lost pets and their owners has started a Facebook page, Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets
- Misquamicut, Rhode Island in Westerly, R.I.has established a relief fund after severe damage to many beaches along Westerly, R.I.
- For information about the New Jersey shore recovery, see the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page
- Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is working to respond to Sandy in Haiti in addition to conducting their first U.S. mission
- As always, Rachel Maddow has some pointed words on how this disaster will impact the election scheduled for next Tuesday. Maddow also offered useful advice on when it's appropriate to donate canned goods and when a simple $10 donation to the Red Cross may be much more appropriate.
- There is an urgent need for people to give blood.
- Occupy is organizing many efforts under the Occupy Sandy Relief project and you can get regular updates by text message by texting "occupysandy" to 23559.
NYC's public radio station WNYC 93.9 is providing coverage of coverage from Sandy and can be streamed online here. Please share any additional resources in the comment section below and we will continue to update this post.
Since this piece originally ran we have posted to other related stories including the Renegade Sandy Relief project with Holly Miranda and the devastating news about the flooded and destroyed Ali Forney Drop--In Center. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has also learned that 22 years of their archives have been flooded and destroyed. All of these projects are seeking financial donations.