how to help?
November 2, 2012 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Aside from donating money, is there anything that I can do to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy?

I have time to spare in the next couple of months. I do not have any kind of emergency training, but have hands to give (if they are needed). I live in the DC/MD/VA area, and am in reasonable proximity to the NY/NJ area.

I am obviously not going to show up and make things worse by being another person hanging around, and I know that loading and sending a bunch of soup cans isn't helpful. But is there anything I can do just by having hands that could be put to work?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
From the New York Times:
Hurricane Sandy has prompted an outpouring of support from people looking to help victims of the storm and to fix what the storm has broken. Here are some ways to assist...
(via jetlagaddict in the giant Hurricane Sandy thread)
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

If there's anything you can do for animals, that might be another way to help. I have to believe a lot of pets as well as feral cats have been impacted by this, and the weather for the next few days is supposed to trend very cold at night. There may be rescue efforts organized either by local organizations or national organizations.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:25 AM on November 2, 2012

Donate Blood.
posted by French Fry at 11:47 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Canned goods actually are helpful. Contact the food bank if you have some to drop off.
posted by BurntHombre at 12:25 PM on November 2, 2012

NonsenseNY had the following info in this weekend's newsletter. Any mention of "today" is referring to Friday 11/2.

* Red Hook: Volunteers needed today at to cook food and coordinate aid. 767 Hicks Street, Brooklyn. Come anytime from 10a-10p and bring something to share. Contact: Paulie Anne Duke: paulieanneduke]at] Also: Norton Records needs helps. This is an indoor job, pulling records out of wet boxes, etc. If anyone has a vehicle of any sort to assist in getting wet boxes from the Red Hook warehouse to HQ in Prospect Heights, please call. No reception in Red Hook. Email is best bet at nortonrec]at] Billy’s cell 917 671 7185 and the office landline 718 789 4438. Don’t leave a message. We are working from 11a until 11p every day.

* Coney Island: Coney Island USA's flooded building needs help. They're looking for people with dehumidifiers, fans, squeegees, mops, mop buckets, household heavy duty rubber gloves, respirators, paper towels, cleaning cloths, brooms, bleach, disinfectant. They'll be accepting donations from noon-6p Friday and Saturday. They also need people to help with the clean up. Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Avenue, corner of West 12th Street, Brooklyn. @ConeyIslandFun

* The Rockaways: Help the clean up effort in Rockaway, where houses were completely devastated by Sandy. Contact: Zack Tucker: 201 320 0226. Today: Veggie Island, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens, near Beach 96th Street. Clean and serve food. Contact: Bobby at 718 772 3803. House of Yes is also taking volunteers and supplies: boringincorporated]at]

* Williamsburg: Donate blood. 10,000 pints of blood were lost in NYC as a result of cancelled blood drives. Donate blood on Saturday at the Williamsburg Church, 231 Ainslie Street, off the Graham stop on the L train from 10a-4p.

* Lower East Side: Rosie Mendez's office is doing a check-on-neighborhoods bridged today from 9a-5p. 237 1st Avenue, at 14th Street. Also: The Henry Street Settlement has received an 18-wheeler of meals and donations. They need vehicles, bikes, and humans to help distribute: 265 Henry Street. Also: Some volunteers are going to set up an aid station at ABC No Rio (food and a portable generator for people to charge cell phones) today starting at 10a. 156 Rivington Street between Clinton and Suffolk. Also: GOLES needs help: 169 Avenue B, between 10th and 11th streets,

* Chinatown: A strong community effort is happening over at CAAAV, a Chinatown-based community organizing group located at 46 Hester Street, between Essex and Ludlow. They are looking for volunteers. 212 473 6485

* Citywide: The Red Cross needs volunteers who are able to lift 50 pounds and are comfortable working in stressful situations. Contact: staffing (at) Also: New York City Public Advocate's Office needs volunteers. Sign up here to help:

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:15 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could find a housecall vet for this person, raise funds from your friends, and send the vet over there -- after asking permission from the poster, of course.
posted by amtho at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2012

Back in 2005, in the aftermath of Katrina, I spent time in Biloxi, MS helping out with recovery and cleanup efforts as part of Hands-On USA, which is now the All Hands Volunteers. Basically, it's a bunch of folks who were in Southeast Asia during the 2004 tsunami and stuck around to help with reconstruction then decided to start their own freelance relief organization. Their main focus is to allow interested volunteers to help with a variety of projects in a stricken area, run lean and tight like a startup ... unsurprising given that the early leadership were tech geeks and VC people.

When I was in Mississippi, we were basically presented with a daily list of tasks that needed help ranging from assisting in donation sorting at the local Salvation Army warehouse, to providing free house gutting services for residents who needed to eradicate the mold that was growing in their walls, to helping out in food banks, to doing neighborhood assessments and checking in on residents who were still coping with the hurricane's aftermath -- then allowed to volunteer for whatever caught our attention. Basically, we were a freelance labor pool for a lot of the local recovery organizations, as well as a lean advocacy group for local residents. Commitment was very loose and I hung out with folks who were only dropping in for weekends as well as college kids and retirees who were there for months.

If you're generally good with your hands, have a big heart, a lot of time to give, and generally a self-starter, then you're, like, their ideal volunteer.

You can check their list of completed projects on their site, but they've been constantly busy and just building on the lessons learned over the years since Katrina. Their scores on Charity Navigator and the BBB are all pretty good. AHV is in the New York area now, doing assessment and trying to figure out where to base themselves. As soon as they have themselves mobilized, I'm planning on heading down to New York on weekends to help out with whatever projects are given their way. Otherwise, I'm probably going to pick out stuff from the New York Times list posted upthread.
posted by bl1nk at 5:31 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

A person I follow on Twitter has suggested that people go to to help categorize aerial photos of coastal areas affected by Sandy: "This tool uses crowdsourcing to provide an initial filter on imagery that has been collected from affected areas. Your work feeds into analysts who are supporting FEMA." It's a tiny way to help, but it's an interesting way to spend a few minutes, and you can do it from home anywhere.
posted by dreamyshade at 8:20 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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