Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sandy -- If You Want to Help But Aren't Sure How...

Most of Manhattan is now powered up once again, but our region is still suffering.  Following is a word-of-mouth compilation of ways YOU can HELP victims of Sandy recover, from my friends and family, to yours. This is not nearly a comprehensive list, but it is one I have collected from the ideas and suggestions of many friends, upon my request for them to tell me where relief is most needed.  Some of these many not be tax-deductible, so if that is important, please inquire first.

Please feel free to add more ideas to the comments section.

Of course, as in any major disaster worldwide, the Red Cross is out in force.  You can donate to Sandy relief on their website, give blood, or text "redcross" to 90999 to donate $10.

Long Beach, New York
Long Beach, the "City By the Sea," is the small barrier island where I was raised, and which currently is operating with no power, water, or working sewage.  Schools are closed and many residents are indefinitely homeless and the town is essentially uninhabitable.  The iconic boardwalk built, partially by elephants, was ripped apart, and entire sections floated into the middle of town.

Donate directly to the City of Long Beach by sending monetary donations to City of Long Beach Relief, 1 West Chester Street, Long Beach, New York, 11561, or online at The city is also accepting food and water donations at East School, at 456 Neptune Blvd, West School, at 91 Maryland Avenue, and Waldbaum's Plaza, at 85 E. Park Ave., and donations of other items including blankets, diapers, wipes, children's shoes, paper towels, toilet paper, batteries, socks, hats, glvoes and shopping bags can be brought to the local Ice Arena, at 150 W. Bay Drive.

Follow Long Beach, NY Hurricane Information's facebook page (not sponsored by the city, but providing a wealth of information, by residents and for residents and their friends and loved ones) for frequent updates on how residents are recovering and ways you can help.  The promoters of that page have been operating a supplies drop-off site daily at a Freeport store, Floor Mart, located at 157 E. Sunrise Hwy, and are also accepting shipped packages there to attention of Chris Musto.  See the facebook page for more information on donation hours (for Monday, 11/5, it will be 11am-2pm).  Major needs include baby formula and food, pet food, blankets and towels, air freshener, brooms, first-aid kits, cotton balls, mouthwash, candles, floss, body spray, AAA batteries, gluten-free products, and plastic storage bins. Also helpful are industrial strength black garbage bags, heavy duty rubber gloves, non-perishable and packaged food and drinks, flashlights, batteries, generators, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, toiletries, paper goods, gas and gas cans, manual can openers, disposable cameras, markers and poster board, sanitary wipes, cleaning supplies, water, soap, tarps, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bleach, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, toothpaste, paper towels.

A former Long Beach Resident, Dennis Carmody, now residing in North Carolina, has found a way to help even from miles away, by starting an online donation site for Hurricane Sandy relief.  Dennis seeks to raise $5000 for the battered city, and all proceeds will go to the efforts of the Red Cross of Greater New York.

You can purchase beautiful photos of Long Beach at its prime and also know that 100% of the proceeds from those photos will go towards Sandy relief at Super Cleary Photo's website.

Breezy Point, Rockaway, Queens and Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, New York
The Rockaways also lost an iconic boardwalk; only the foundations remain. 110 homes burned down in an out of control fire during the storm, in Breezy Point, and other homes and businesses in the Rockaway Peninsula, Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach shore areas have been destroyed and devastated.  Families have lost everything.

I.S. 281, located at 8787 24th Ave., in Brooklyn, is accepting physical donations for Rockaway and Coney Island.

Park Avenue Tavern, at 39th and Park, in Manhattan, is accepting physical donations of specific items for the Rockaways: flashlights, batteries, masks, contractor bags, work gloves, men's and women's wellies and work boats, cleaning supplies (mops, buckets, brooms, etc.). Please clearly mark/label items. They are also in need of first aid supplies such as baby cough medicine, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Ace bandages, Advil and Tylenol, clearly labeled, and sorted separately from any of the other supplies.  Clothing is NOT needed at this location at this time. If you cannot physically get to the Tavern, you may ship items to St. Francis DeSales, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Belle Harbor, New York, 11694. In Good Company Hospitality, the parent company of Park Avenue Tavern, has also established a Rockaways relief fund online, and monetary donations are accepted here.

Resurrection Church at 2331 Gerritsen Ave, Brooklyn, is accepting physical donations for Gerritsen Beach.

St. Bernadette's Church at 8201 13th Ave, Brooklyn, is also accepting physical donations for the Rockaways.

New York Aquarium 
Coney Island was indeed hit hard, and the beloved NY Aquarium is in desperate need of support for the marine life whose habitats are now threatened. The aquarium remains closed indefinitely due to severe storm damage, including massive flooding.  Read about the animals in need and the wonderful volunteers trying to help them here, and make a donation here.

Belmar, New Jersey
Many of New York's neighbors are also still suffering from Sandy's aftermath, such as the shore town of Belmar, New Jersey, recently ranked as the number one beach in Monmouth County. As cleanup efforts continue, and water and rubble are removed from the streets, schools will not be able to open for at least another week.  The Borough of Belmar is accepting monetary donations at, and has established a Hurricane Relief Distribution Center that is accepting physical donations at the Belmar Arts Council Building, at 608 River Road, on the corner of Seventh Ave.

Jersey City, New Jersey
Just across the river from NYC, Jersey City residents are still in dire need of assistance, and one local, sustainable food shop, Bread and Spoon, is donating food to those in need.  To help them with their efforts, contact the owners via their website, or via email at

All Encompassing: Staten Island and other NYC areas, Long Island, and Jersey Shore
Arguably the most devastated NYC borough, Staten Island is desperate for relief as it tries to rebuild entire neighborhoods that were destroyed by the storm.  The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, originally set up to honor a fallen firefighter after 9/11, is accepting Sandy relief donations, and you can specify exactly what region you want your funds to be used towards - Staten Island, NYC residents, New Jersey Shore residents, or Long Island residents, or you can choose "general relief".  Donate to Tunnel to Towers here.

If you still feel you want to/can do more, read this article from Boston's NPR News station, 90.9, WBUR, for more ideas on how and where to help.

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