How to Help | Post-Sandy Holidays

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A man receives food from volunteers handing out lunch to residents in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood. A man receives food from volunteers handing out lunch to residents in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Looking to help a family affected by Hurricane Sandy? We're collecting a list of places to donate, volunteer and receive help for the holidays.

All locations

Be a Secret Santa: Secret Sandy is a gift-giving site for people who want to donate and purchase presents for children in areas affected by Super Storm Sandy. They're also matching children with secret Santas.

Jam out: Proceeds from Matisyahu's newest single "Happy Hanukkah" will be donated to the Robin Hood Foundation and The Jewish Foundations of North America to help victims of Hurricane Sandy from now until the end of Hanukkah, Dec. 16.  

Spare a coat: The Ugly Christmas Sweater Cabaret is hosting a holiday charity show and coat drive on Dec. 4th. And Coat Drive to benefit New York Cares for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Get cultural: Shakespeare with Benefits is hosting Sandy Relief: A Bard-Based Variety Show on Dec. 17th with special guest Olympia Dukakis, with proceeds going to New York Cares.

Cook or share your table: Tablesharing is matching people in need with those willing to provide or host a holiday dinner. Volunteers can specify which among a Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza dinner they'd like to donate.

Find a shelter: New York is currently operating seven shelters around the city (as Fortune Magazine notes, the Red Cross is prevented from operating shelters in the five boroughs).  

Eat and be merry:

The Cobble Hill restaurant Strong Place is hosting "Sweet Relief" a benefit dinner with proceeds going to the Rockaway Rescue Alliance. "There will also be a raffle to win a tour of the Sixpoint Brewery," all taking place on Nov. 30th. [h/t Grub Street]

East Village mainstay Hearth is hosting a Sandy benefit dinner featuring celebrity chefs from restaurants all over the city who have pooled together as NYC Food Flood. Dec. 3rd. [h/t Grub Street]

Bon Appetit is hosting a series of benefit meals on Dec. 6th and 7th called Do Your Part Dinners, with food prepared by many of the country's most famous chefs (and more than a few Top Chef alums), for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.


The website Hurricane Sandy Adopt a Family 4 Christmas is gathering volunteers around the tri-state area who can donate food, holiday decorations or needed items for Hurricane Sandy family/families/couple or singles to "give them a wonderful holiday."

Operation Sandy Christmas is looking for volunteers in NY and NJ to man Stuff-A-Bus campaigns and toy drives to help the families that will spend their Christmas in shelters. 

The New York Times has an annual charity campaign called the Neediest Cases Fund, which profiles and assists children, families and the elderly in New York, in coordination with a number of charitable agencies. To donate or find out if you are eligible, visit the site here.

Bay Ridge Cares is preparing meals for distribution all throughout the holidays and are in need of volunteers and monetary donations.

Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen - a coordinated effort between Two Boots Brooklyn and the Old First Church in Park Slope - is taking donations and volunteers to help distribute food to shelters throughout the holiday season until end of the year.

The Salvation Army of Greater New York is holding an online food drive throughout the holidays.

New Jersey


Sandy Report is collecting a list of places to volunteer and donate in southern New Jersey for the Christmas holidays.

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County has launched the All Wrapped Up Holiday Giving Program, where volunteers can donate food or money, adopt a family, or donate gifts.

The Salvation Army of Newark is hosting an online food drive through the holidays.



The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, which serves Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan, is collecting donated food to distribute to Sandy-affected families and is organizing volunteers.

Newton Patch has collected a list of 10 places to donate toys, holiday meals, and volunteer during the heavy holiday season.

Eat and be Merry:

Oaxaca Kitchen in Westport is hosting a Hurricane Sandy benefit dinner on Nov. 28th.


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Comments [8]

Sam from New York City

If you have a spare room you can offer to someone in need, you can post it free on SpareRoom New York, to help victims of Sandy. Use the code NYCFREE to get a free upgrade until end Dec.

Nov. 21 2012 09:06 AM
Dee Riou from Boonton, NJ

Friends from Staten Island have been really disapointed with the response from any agency, all they've got is mostly done themselves... and this is what they see.

Corner of Mill ...Road and New Dorp Lane
The NYPD officers in the lot said they are scheduled to leave Staten Island today for lack of need!!!!

This lot is 10 blocks away from homes with NO POWER, NO LIGHTS, NO HEAT and overflowing Porto-Sans!

Nov. 19 2012 12:33 PM

Is there a similar "shared table" program being organized in the boroughs? Would love to offer my Thanksgiving table in Brooklyn! Any info would be appreciated!

Nov. 19 2012 12:04 PM

The analysis that looked atanimal products vs vegetarian ones used incorrect/inadequate assumptions to decide that animal products are less"green" A nother consideration is that growing more field crops causes habitat loss for the critters living there, and disregards the fact that cattle and pther ruminants can utilize plant materials that humans cannor directly digest to transform nutrients into a form people can eat.

On the other hand, your idea to use yurts as temporary housing sounds lovely, but might not be practical in an urban location.

Nov. 19 2012 12:20 AM
Alan from NYC

Here is a cautionary tale. A bunch of people went up to The Bronx to volunteer after signing up with NY Cares on Saturday. We got there at 1105 for an 11AM Meeting due to subway delays. When we got there, there was no one waiting. No signs, no directions, nothing. After walking around a while trying to find the group, people sort of dispersed.

I am not trying to be difficult. I just think we should all be warned about incompetence and find organizations that actually help people.

Nov. 18 2012 10:46 PM

We use Tofurkey and have not had a flood so not disadvantaged (this year) I would suggest that others try this! It is very good tasting and my children loved it esp when slow cooked in a Crockpot! Using animal based meals can bea contributor to Global Warming that may be the culprit in the weather extremes we are seeing! We loved Ellen Digenerise new cookbook that shows how great these vegan foods can be.

Also I am thinking of ways to use inexpensive and lovely Yurts to facilitate homeless! Can you envision them in unused office space with vertical gardens would be so lovely!

Dr Amen Clinic would have to set up an emergency facility near his new NYC office to make sure that the homeless are not suffering mental illness before being admitted here.

Nov. 18 2012 11:24 AM

A huge list of volunteer opportunities, dropoff locations, distribution centers, and local connecting points in hard-hit areas can be found here:

Nov. 18 2012 11:01 AM
Anne green

I am willing to host a family but I live in Yonkers so if this location is too far then I can donate already cooked turkeys and anything else

Nov. 17 2012 12:36 PM

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