I recently drove through a nearby neighborhood and observed people trying to dry out furniture and remove boats from their front lawns. The damage that I received to my home and the inconvenience of losing electric for a week is nothing compared to what these people are going through. My heart and prayers go out to them. The one bright spot to all this is watching people come together and reach out to others with good will and deeds. There are various ways you can help. I have read where people from other states are collecting food and clothing and driving them personally to people that need them. It does not have to be a super huge gesture or inconvenience. Little things mean a lot and are greatly appreciated. Some things that are obvious are:
- Offer to help a neighbor to clean their yard.
- Wait on a gas line during the day for someone who is at work.
- Lend or share a generator to someone who is still without power.
- Offer to let people use your electric to charge their phones or computers.
- Watch/entertain children so their parents can get a break or work to clear the storm damage without distraction.
- Bring someone a casserole.
- If you have the ability, freeze water in containers, to provide others with ice (thanks Bruce and Elizabeth!).
- Lend someone a cooler (again, thanks Bruce and Elizabeth).
Below is some information posted on the CNNU.S. website: (http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/30/us/iyw-how-to-help-after-sandy/index.html)
Donate blood — The Red Cross had to cancel about 300 blood drives because of the storm and supplies are running low. Visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule a donation appointment in your area. The New York Blood Center is also collecting blood donations in the New York/New Jersey area.
Provide emergency supplies — AmeriCares, Catholic Charities USA, Direct Relief International, Feeding America and Operation Blessing International are providing food, medical supplies, emergency kits and support for people in need.
Help outside the U.S. — Hurricane Sandy took a deadly toll on the Caribbean before it hit the United States. Operation USA and the International Medical Corps are helping people affected by Sandy in Haiti and Cuba. Operation USA is also providing aid to the East Coast.
If you are planning to give to a nonprofit in the wake of any disaster, verify that it is legitimate. Charity evaluators like Guidestar and Charity Navigator are good ways to check that the organization you’re donating to is established and your funds will go where you intend.