by Louise, Director of Operations
It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since the day we all hunkered down in our homes (or in shelters) without any real idea what this Hurricane Sandy was going to bring our way. Many people were convinced that it was going to be nothing, purposely not preparing, and scoffing the MTA for overreacting. Others were taking it seriously, but being cautiously optimistic.
Personally, I fell into the second camp and prepared in accordance to the recommendations, and I remember so clearly the feeling of trepidation on the evening of October 28th as I sat on my couch with my bath tub full of water, my battery-powered radio at hand, my multiple flashlights, scattered around and my non-perishable food supply stocked. But I was very fortunate: I never lost power or even internet at home, and my neighborhood was fairly devoid of damage. Here at our office, we were without internet for a week, but everyone was safe, we had power, and we were able to get by. My best friend’s wedding in Brooklyn a week later was able to go off without a hitch.
In short, I was one of the lucky ones. And I’ve never stopped being grateful for that, and aware of those who were not as lucky. It’s always remarkable to be in New York City when we’re going through a rough time, to see the way everyone bands together and helps each other out. In the weeks after Sandy, it was inspirational to see so many New Yorkers do their best to help with the initial recovery effort, and buckle down and accept the new normal – waiting in line for hours for buses, walking to work without (much) complaining, and doing what we needed to do in order to keep life going.
Over the past year, for the most part the city has returned to a state of seeming normalcy and for most of us, our day-to-day lives don’t include a constant reminder of what happened. With Ellis Island reopening at last today, we are bidding farewell to one of the most widely-seen remaining effects of the storm. But it’s so important for us to remember that for many residents, the storm still takes a toll every day. There are those who are still displaced – who lost their homes and can’t afford to rebuild or rent new homes, who lost their jobs due to cutbacks, who are suffering from health problems, or who lost their businesses.
So what can you do to help? There’s the obvious, of course – donations! AmeriCares has a great program, including sponsoring Diana Nyad’s 48 hour Swim for Relief which helped bring awareness of the fact that a lot of people out there are still in need of assistance. We can’t all do laps for two straight days, but there are plenty of other ways to help. http://www.americares.org/emergency-response/hurricane-sandy-recovery.html
The Shore Soup Project is another very worthy cause – they started in the wake of the storm as an effort to get food out to the affected people in the Rockaways, one of the hardest hit areas, and have since a partner program of the Fund for the City of New York. You can read more about their donation and volunteer opportunities here: http://shoresoupproject.org/
And of course, as always, one of the best ways to help is to visit NYC, and to make an effort to patronize the still-struggling businesses in downtown Manhattan, Red Hook Brooklyn, the Rockaways, and other areas that were hit hard. For more information, feel free to e-mail us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as always, We LOVE New York!