There's no shortage of ways for people to help their neighbors in need — by donating money, goods and your own manpower. Here are a few:
- Be an on-call city volunteer. City government volunteer agency NYC Service has partnered with the Office of Emergency Management to recruit a group of volunteers called EmergeNYC. Email them to volunteer to staff evacuation centers and distribution sites.
- New York Cares needs help with a number of its recovery efforts and wants volunteers for door-to-door outreach to New Yorkers stuck without power, donation distribution and more. Sign up with the organization and then for individual projects.
- Give blood. New York is in dire need of blood, after the storm forced the cancellation of a scheduled blood drive and destroyed many donated blood samples. Search for a blood drive near you.
- The New York City Public Advocate's Office wants volunteers to help at evacuation sites and to help with clean-up citywide. The office has a sign-up form here.
- Volunteer with soup kitchens, food pantries and more. The New York City Coalition Against Hunger is posting volunteer opportunities on its Facebook page. Citymeals-on-wheels is also seeking volunteers, and food banks like City Harvest and the Food Bank of New York City are seeking donations.
- Clean up a city park. City officials shut down the parks for both Sandy and the nor'easter that hit Tuesday, and now they need our help getting the parks back in shape for visitors. To help, fill out a volunteer form to help in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island.
- The American Red Cross wants medically credentialed volunteers to support shelters and for donations. Would-be volunteers were asked to email HealthServices@nyredcross.org or find more information on its website.
- And community storm response efforts like Staten Island Recovers, Lower East Side Recovers, Astoria Recovers and Red Hook Recovers list volunteer and donation opportunities in the hard-hit borough as they become available.
In parts of the city hit hardest by Sandy, community needs and volunteer opportunities are constantly changing. But here are just a few of the ways you can lend hands-on help to neighborhoods in need. Be sure to double check that help is still needed before you head to a volunteer site.
STATEN ISLAND: Check the community storm response blog Staten Island Recovers for the most up-to-date information. You can also try these locations:
- St. Jacobi Church at 5406 4th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is serving as InterOccupy's staging center and distribution hub to hard-hit areas in Staten and is accepting volunteers.
- New Dorp High School at 465 New Dorp Lane in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island, is a major local FEMA and Red Cross hub and is accepting donations.
ROCKAWAYS: As in parts of Staten Island, the ravaged Rockaways have no electricity and cell phone service outages. Check Rockawayhelp.com for the latest. In particular, Broad Channel has needed volunteers to help sort clothes and distribute food. Report to the shelter at the American Legion Hall at 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, and ask for Marty Seeny.
RED HOOK: Red Hook Recovers is powering a strong community relief effort, lising sites around the neighborhood that need help. Check its site for updates. The Red Hook Initiative, which is spearheading recovery, needs your help in particular, and if you can spare some time Friday to help, report to its headquarters at 767 Hicks Street between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
CONEY ISLAND & BRIGHTON BEACH: The UJA Federation needs volunteers, particularly Russian speakers, to visit, check on and deliver emergency items, including medications, to homebound seniors who have no electricity. Check out the group's list of those and other volunteer opportunities throughout the tri-state — like collecting donations and washing dishes in a kosher soup kitchen.
NEW JERSEY: The Blood Center of New Jersey is holding emergency blood drives around the Garden State. Mary Pat Christie, the wife of Gov. Chris Christie, is organizing the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund which is accepting donations online.
CONNECTICUT: The Connecticut chapter of the Red Cross is asking interested volunteers to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their telephone number. The Red Cross will contact people with information about how they can help.
For more up-to-the-minute details on New Yorkers' needs and volunteer opportunities, keep up with the hashtag #SandyVolunteer on Twitter.
And as ever, remember that monetary donations are often the most helpful thing you give to those in need, and that many relief groups have said that they no longer need clothes donations.