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The Department of Sanitation has mobilized to help the city cleanup from Sandy.
The phones are open for anyone who volunteered in the Sandy recovery this weekend. What did you do? What problems or successes did you see?
We tried volunteering through Occupy Sandy at 512 Clinton Sunday morning. I'm sure it was a bit more chaotic since the building is actually a church, so it was being used for its intended purpose that day along with OS headquarters. We did get a ride out to Coney Island and were supposed to do some canvassing to bring individual dwellings what they needed. However, when we arrived we were told to go someplace else within walking distance. It wound up being about 30 minutes away by foot, and when we got there, no one was there. There was a lot of confusion and wasted time. A friend & I got frustrated standing around waiting, so we walked down to the boardwalk and saw a huge adhoc volunteer effort taking place and joined that instead. We later connected with someone from our original group via text (cellphone service was very spotty down there), who said they were finally being trained for canvassing more than 90 minutes after arriving in Coney Island. I'm sure they were able to help some folks, and was glad we were helping too, albeit in a different manner than our initial plans.
I volunteered in Long Beach, NY, with HAI on Saturday in conjunction with the Long Beach City Manager's Office. We checked in on those over 60—assessing needs and handing out daily update flyers. I have mixed feelings about it because I think that many people were grateful that someone cared enough to see if they were ok. We also were able to contact the police in order to help a woman who needed her liver and kidney prescriptions. However, we were also asking these people questions like "do you need information?" "do you need supplies?" and when I handed in the responses to these questions, I was told that only the urgent needs would be addressed and there was no system for handling the non-urgent issues yet. Now I feel as though I gave these people who are already vulerable and in need a false hope that the information and supplies they requested won't be followed up on. I don't think we should have asked the questions, if there wasn't a plan to follow up. And now I wonder if anyone will even follow up with the woman who needed her medicine to be sure she got what she needed.
My family and another - including four kids ages 11-14 - took a trip to New Dorp, Staten Island Sunday loaded with cleaning supplies and food donated by restaurants in Westchester, where we live. There is so much need and opportunity for families to help. There were quite a few volunteers on the ground from the Red Cross to church groups. We set up a few tables outside Ariana's catering hall, which has become an incredible staging area for goods and food. We served pastas and pulled pork from trays heated by sterno and fed many people. We also walked around with a radio flyer wagon, loaded with bagged lunches that included sandwiches, snacks and drinks, and gave them to residents, many of whom don't want to leave their homes despite the wreckage and lack of power. In some cases we returned to homes with garbage bags, brooms, other necessities. There is a huge need for cleaning supplies, socks and underwear there - and always, hot food.
I heard the caller from Coney Island. I'm not sure what part of Coney Island he was at (I'm not super familiar with that area), but there is actually a FEMA and City Services relief center set up at Our Lady of Solace church on 17th. In addition, there is a Relief Village at the MCU parking lot, with FEMA, hot food, donations, etc. Today they are holding a Children's Relief Festival. You can check out more info on efforts at Coney Island here:
I drove around Red Hook last night after church. And, most of it is still dark. Very few "pockets" of light, aside from the NYPD uber-lights. Fairway still out. Brooklyn Crab had power. Corner of Red Hook by the 3rd Water Tunnel Project never lost power. I noted they had stopped pumping the Brooklyn Battery tunnel ... and sure enuf, this morning heard they're letting busses thru.
Next week, NYC Transit will partially return to its 2 Broadway office building (it is still waiting for parts).
More héros like Eric!!
Thank you for your efforts!!
Nobody talks much about Gerritsen Beach - still no power. Lots of city workers there.
What's going on with Staten Island? It seems like it's still got the forgotten borough status going on.
Brian, as someone who was on the ground in Red Hook, the Rockaways and Sunset Park over the last three days, thank you for continuing to keep this conversation going. There are so many still in need, in darkness, cold and without running water (especially in the Rockaways) and I fear that as Thanksgiving approaches, and news cycles turn, these folks will be forgotten. So an early Thanks to you and WNYC for your commitment to keeping them in our thoughts and actions.
And fuva - don't give up. Go to the Occupy site in Sunset Park - they'll transport you out and get you suited up.
I went to volunteer in Far Rockaway yesterday. It took me about 3 hrs to get there and, once there, I couldn't find the Occupy contingent I intended to work with. I ended up leaving my donations with NY Cares and spending way too much time hunting down Occupy. The takeaway: It's risky to just show up. Better to make arrangements in advance.
I never imagined that NYC would leave so many people in the cold, especially the frail and elderly. Are there any advocacy groups to join?
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