How to Help in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

by Jessica Luther


A week ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast of the United States, ending lives, destroying homes, and knocking out power. There are still large parts of the region, especially around New York City, that need all kinds of help. Thank you to the many, many people on Twitter who helped me make this list.

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net.

Help donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy by shipping items to the Occupy Sandy relief outpost at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill (520 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238)

All of the families of Lower Eastside Girls Club members have been impacted by this disaster. Without electricity for four days, everything in their refrigerators has spoiled and needs to be replaced. Those living on lower floors also need to replace flood soaked furniture and clothing.

But perhaps the greatest loss, the unseen loss, has been in wages. The parents of our girls are day workers, nurses aides, deli countermen, and retail clerks. With no subways to get to work this week, they are facing diminished paychecks. It is these  ‘little things’ that can really set a family back: needing to restock the fridge, not being able to pay the cell phone bill, or buy your child those new winter boots (they grow so fast).

This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there. This space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger. The best way people can reach out to help in this very challenging time is by making monetary donations.

Hurricane Sandy has devastated many of our communities in Brooklyn and Queens. Families in the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Over the next few weeks, we will be traveling to these neighborhoods to deliver supplies to those who need them most. Food, water, clothing, baby needs, and personal items will be dropped off to families on a daily basis. Your donation will help us purchase more of these supplies, as well as the gasoline we need to get our vehicles to the hardest hit areas.

  • Rockaway Recovery (to donate to this effort, see NY Communities Hurricane Relief Rund above)

Deliver in Person: The New York Communities For Change (NYCC) office at 2-4 Nevins Street, 2nd Fl, Brooklyn NY 11217, is collecting donations and transporting them to Far Rockaway twice a day. Stop by between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Have a car? NYCC also needs help to transport donations. Contact Olivia Leirer with NYCC at oleirer@nycommunities.org for more information.

Or, fill a car with donations from friends and deliver these items yourself to: City Council Member James Sanders’ Office, 15-26 Central Avenue #2, Far Rockaway, NY 11691

You can ship donations to NYCC at the Nevins Street address above, or to: New York City Council Member James Sanders, Jr., Attn: Donovan Richards, 234-26 Merrick Blvd., Rosedale, NY 11422

Donate to the Red Hook Initiative here.

In Red Hook, thousands are still without power. The response from the community, both here in New York and across the country has been overwhelming. We are doing the best that we can to manage the response. As you can imagine, the situation and the needs change by the hour.

Coney Island is in a terrible state and they need the following items: FOOD (canned goods, water… They REALLY need hot food to feed about 1500 people daily, MOSTLY SENIOR CITIZENS), CLOTHING (socks, gloves, scarfs, hats, sweaters, hoodies, rubber boots, blankets), MISC. (toilet paper, medication needs for seniors). Call Pamela Harris, Executive Director of Coney Island Generation Gap, at 917-592-2719, or email her at kimosobbe@optonline.net if you can bring any of these items out there way, or volunteer some time. You can also mail material or monetary donations to Coney Island Generation Gap, 2904 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224.

Councilman Michael Nelson - Food, Blankets, Water — Corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue – 1PM to 5PM

Warming Center — COUNCIL CENTER FOR SENIOR CITIZENS, 1001 Quentin Road – 9AM to 3PM

DRY ICE — MCU Park (Cyclones Stadium) – 1904 Surf Ave. (Between West 17th and West 19th streets), parking lot section 1B – 9AM TO 4PM

DISASTER ASSISTANCE RELIEF – (FEMA) — MCU Park parking lot at 1904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island — 8AM to 5PM

SAINT SIMON & JUDE CHURCH, 185 Van Sicklen St, Brooklyn, NY 11223 is accepting used or new clothes, blankets, socks, sweat shirts, diapers, wipes, non perishable foods, money, soaps, peanut butter, Nutella, bread.

In partnership with local churches,World Vision is distributing relief items, including blankets, winter clothing, and emergency food supplies to families and children in several areas of New York City.

Throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, millions remain without power as cold weather sets in. At the same time, extensive damage to roads and property, severe flooding, fuel shortages and mass transit shutdowns are posing great challenges to survivors. Preliminary estimates set storm-related damages at up to $50 billion.

Staten Island, NY was particularly hard-hit by widespread power outages that paralyzed health services in many communities. On November 1, AmeriCares deployed a fully-stocked mobile medical clinic to the borough, helping the Beacon Christian Community Health Center (BCCH) treat patients despite power outages.

We are currently still assessing what opportunities exist for us to help rebuild in New Jersey. While it is early in the process, we know that many of us have seen the widespread devastation that have left many throughout the region without homes. We plan on helping where we can and will need your support to help make a difference…one SOUL at a time.

UPDATED to include information about where to donate to help in Caribbean, which was also devastated (specifically Haiti and Cuba). I have cross-referenced these charities through Charity Navigator but I suggest looking into them yourself before choosing to donate.


The situation is constantly changing. Please check the appropriate website most up-to-date information. Also, if anything changes, please add new information in the comments below. 

And I know this list is not comprehensive by any means. Please feel welcome and encouraged to share information about other ways to help survivors of the storm in comments.

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