Hurricane Sandy Damage Report: In Wake Of NY Power Outages Here is How You Can Help Your Community


Last month, the Knight Foundation released a study outlining that community based initiatives show the greatest fortitude in the face of disaster (read more here). In light of Hurricane Sandy’s recent destruction, a new non-profit, is helping prove just that.

For those in the New York City areas of Astoria, Queens; Red Hook, Brooklyn; on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; or Staten Island, has been working hard to organize relief efforts (click on your area to learn more about what services are being offered).  relies on inherent strengths of a community by centralizing volunteers, donations, and information. In the face of a disaster, we tend to witness a kindness that is otherwise easy to forget exists on a daily basis. Yet for many, this good intention is faced with frustration: a loss of knowing just what to do to help.  

This is where steps in and plays a pivotal role. Not only do they serve as a “town hall” of information, but they immerse themselves in the scene. There is no better way to organize for people than getting your hands dirty and joining them. often remembers those in a community that can be easily overlooked when our attention is focused on when ConEd is returning power—like senior citizens on food stamps or those in a mental hospital. is calling for food donations for East Village Access, which provides services for those with mental illness and is location on 2nd Street between Avenue C and B. They’re also organizing drives and calling on volunteers to work with translators to provide information to those left isolated in Chinatown. Most importantly, is there to listen to communities about their needs and then organizes relief in response.

While some of these efforts may seem lower priority to restoring the NYC subways, highlights the smaller necessities that make a very large difference in a community’s sense of togetherness. Mayors and governors have their hands full with the infrastructure recovery efforts, but it is integral to a community’s recovery that local organizations focus on the small tasks that not only ease the difficulty of disaster relief for many but help show the strengths of a community—because what is more meaningful than a neighbor’s helping hand?