Hurricane Sandy: 5 things you can do NOW
I am exhausted. And cranky. But, I have electricity; all my trees are standing; there is not a drop of flood water in my home; and my family is safe.
Unfortunately, not everyone is waking up in their own beds. And for many families, they will not have their own beds for a long time.
People are in need right now. Here are five things you can do, right now:
1. Give money. Cash is king and cash allows all the amazing aide organizations to do their jobs, they way they need to do their jobs. I know from years of working for a prevention of blindness organization: when you have needy people to serve, the last thing you need to be doing is sorting supplies. Cash makes it happen. So give — even $10 can have an enormous impact.
Confused about where to give, Network for Good has a list of vetted, charitable organizations that are the first responders on the ground including the American Red Cross and World Vision. The list is here.
You can make a quick $10 donation via text. Text SANDY to 80888 to make a $10 donation to be evenly distributed among the American Red Cross, AmeriCares and the Salvation Army. (I just did this!)
2. Check in. Get hyper local and check in with your neighbors. Pitch in on yard clean-up, tree removal, childcare and ask what your neighbors need. I think sometimes we all forget those right next to us: we might be the angels and solutions they've prayed for. We just have to ask.
3. Round up excess hurricane provisions. Do you have a bunch of canned goods, water and other provisions that you won't use for a long time (or ever)? Donate to a local food pantry now. While the affected areas are in the most need of items; food pantries in those areas may or may not be accessible or operational for days. And many local people, even if their homes weathered the storm, will be hurting after missing two days of work without pay (can you imagine?). Imagine if your kids received breakfast and lunch at school everyday and there has been no school?
Food pantries have been in dire need of food and Hurricane Sandy just amplifies the need.
Serving New Jersey, both the shore and outlying areas is the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Their website lists drop off locations.
Serving South Jersey is the Food Bank of South Jersey. The website lists drop off locations. I also drop off donations at my church, First Presbyterian Church of Haddonfield on Kings Highway in Haddonfield.
Large food banks can use cash donations to buy specific provisions they need. So, if you don't have excess to give and feeding the hungry is close to your heart, consider a cash donation.
4. Clean out your closets. Maybe you are homebound today and ready to go bonkers. In the coming days and weeks, various community, church and other organizations will begin accepting donations of clothing and other supplies. Use your time at home to gather goods and then wait to see who is requesting the donations. You will be ready to answer immediately.
5. Vow not to forget. Sure, we all get busy. But the need for money, food, assistance and support will continue through the Holiday Season and into 2013. Don't forget. Keep those suffering and struggling in your prayers. Resolve on New Year's Eve to know that people need help year-round.
Trish Adkins is a South Jersey mom. This post is adapted from her blog, Yoke.