Renegade Sandy Relief Needs Your Help

Crystal’s Team Pick:

Many essential relief efforts have been underway since hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Caribbean and United States last month, such as those we’ve already mentioned here and here. One of the teams out on the ground helping is Renegade Sandy Relief (RSR) – a volunteer-based relief effort organised by musician Holly Miranda and photographer iO Tillett Wright.

RSR is all about taking direct relief action in the worst affected areas of New York. All donations received go to the purchase of much-needed supplies that are then rapidly distributed to people in areas that were hit the hardest by hurricane Sandy.

Holly on the establishment of RSR (paraphrased, read the full text here):

“One week ago today iO Tillett Wright and I began texting back and forth about what we could do to help the residents of the Warbasse buildings in Brighton Beach, who couldn’t physically get down to the ground level to pick up the donations that were being dropped off. By the following morning we had an entire bar full (The Drink in Williamsburg, a space donated by owner Lane Sanders) of donations and somewhere around 50 people showed up to help us. We made about two thousand sandwiches, filled seven vehicles with supplies and took thirty-five people down to Brighton Beach to climb the dark stairs with us. Another drive was started by Sunday, this time with four drop-off locations; five moving trucks full of donations were taken to areas in need. All cash donations were spend on supplies and two vans full of volunteers went to Rockaway to assist with the clean up.

Since then this effort has rapidly evolved (out of necessity) into a legit functioning volunteer based relief. We are working on our third drive and liaising directly with the Rockaway Surf Club to get them exactly what they need, as well as organizing benefits and concerts, food trucks… the list goes on.”

RSR volunteers at work


There are a number of ways you can support Renegade Sandy Relief, no matter where you’re based. Here’s a few:

Donate your time and/or goods.
The next RSR drive is happening this weekend, 9 – 11 November, at Crest Hardware in Williamsburg, NY. Crest are offering 15% off items bought in-store and donated to the drive. Here’s all the info and the list of items desperately needed. RSR are also looking for volunteers such as cooks drivers.

More information about how you can help — and details on how you can organise your own drive — can be found on the Renegade Sandy Relief tumblr.

Donate money.
All donations go towards supplies that are directly shuttled out to people who need them the most. DONATE HERE.

Spread the word.
Follow Renegade Sandy Relief on Twitter and Facebook and share/RT your heart out.

Live in LA? Attend this benefit.
LaHeartsNy is throwing a benefit this Sunday, Nov 11 at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles. Allof the proceeds will go to RSR efforts. You’ll be supporting a great cause but also rad musicians are playing, so win-win. Here are the details:


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Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. yes, please. anyone that wants to donate for Sandy Relief, don’t text or send money to FEMA or the Red Cross. I haven’t seen them in any of the volunteer places. this isn’t to say they aren’t helping. i just haven’t seen them where I’ve been – ANYWAY.

    give to places actually out there doing the things like Renegade Sandy.


    St. Jacobi Church in Brooklyn
    Address: 5406 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
    Phone: (718) 439-8978

    New York Cares

    Occupy Sandy Outpost
    Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill
    520 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    YANA Community Center
    Far Rockaways, B113 and Rockaway Blvd. Meals served 10am, 1pm and 5pm

    these are the real people putting in the real work. anyway, i’m done. i love all of you.

  2. New Yorkers who can volunteer their time, as the previous post and Gabrielle has mentioned, check updates for Occupy Sandy here:

    For people who are far away, but would like to help, don’t bother donating to red cross (so much money is spent on administrative and bureaucratic BS that minimal help is actually reaching people).

    Go to the Occupy Sandy amazon wedding registry, buy a can of beans or a sponge or batteries – whatever you can contribute. It is amazing how fast the requests are being filled.



  3. yes yes to all of the above. people in the most affected areas still do not have power/water/heating. houses have been damaged/ruined, stores are closed, transportation is very limited.

  4. Yes to all of the above. It seems as though national support of relief efforts for Sandy victims has been underwhelming because “it’s not as bad as Katrina.” Still, people all over an even larger region need help.

    On a somewhat related note. Does anybody know if iO Tillet Wright’s self-evident truths project is still going on? I thought that was soo cool but it seems like the website hasn’t been updated in a while.

  5. Hey @JR! It’s still going on! We have just been dealing with some behind the scenes stuff, but it’s still in full swing!

    • Whoa! Thanks for responding to my comment, iO. If you ever bring SET up to the Pacific Northwest, I definitely want to stop by for the photo shoot (although I understand we may not be a top priority region in terms of gaining acceptance compared to other states what with Ref 74 passing in Washington and everything.)

      Thanks for all that you do. Your SET project has helped humanize the queer community and I have shown the website to many confused “straight” people who think everyone is either 100% gay or 100% straight. I’m also contemplating asking my very straight parents for a SET tshirt for the holidays, but they might not be at that level just yet.

      Your work with RSR is also inspiring, particularly because there are many “hip queer activists” who talk the talk, but never actually do anything tangible in terms of social change. This holds true especially with oppressed communities that are disenfranchised in so many ways. Your art is wildly beautiful and powerful; I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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