Tomorrow it will be one week since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast. Her path of destruction was vast but what stays with me most is how savagely she tore through New Jersey. I was raised in New Jersey just across the Hudson, the New York City skyline a backdrop for the first 18 years of my life. I spent the summers of my formative years down the shore, on boardwalks, playing skeeball, jumping waves. To see so much of it torn to shreds has broken my heart every single day since Sandy showed her face.
I am grateful beyond measure for my loved ones who were spared any physical harm. They have all in some degree lost a few modern necessities – electricity, hot water, fuel; otherwise, they are waking each morning in their own bed, under their own roof. I am forever grateful for their safety during this superstorm.
But New Jersey itself is a loved one of mine and she has not fared nearly as well. Being so far away from home, from the place which stole my heart so many years ago, from the place who is so much a part of who I am – well, I feel useless and unfaithful and incompetent. Sure I text the Red Cross but my hands and my eyes are burning to put the pieces back together – literally.
I’m talking with a few local women whose hearts also belong to New Jersey and we’re hoping to organize a donation drive during the month of November to be delivered at month’s end or early December to New Jersey residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy. My first instinct is to jump in my car and get my hands dirty in the relief efforts. Then I remember I have kids and responsibilities I cannot abandon so easily. I also remember this recovery from Sandy has no real end in sight just yet. So any effort, right this moment or in a month or even in months to a year, will be a needed effort. I hope our donation drive is the first of many efforts on our part.
If you’re heart belongs to Jersey but you find yourself, like me, far away from home, here are a few resources to help the relief effort from a distance. And remember – you can donate money or you can donate goods. Contact these organizations and find out what they need. Relief efforts will continue for a long, long time so whether it’s today or tomorrow or through the end of the year into 2013, people in New Jersey will still need our help.
-The First Lady of New Jersey, Mary Pat Christie, has created the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Barely 8 hours after launching, over $100,000 has been raised. Every penny counts, and while most of us won’t be able to match the very generous donation of $2.5 million dollars Hess Corp made to the fund, we can all spare something.
-The Moonachie Hurricane Relief Fund is a Facebook page focused on helping the community of Moonachie. Like their page to keep up to date on what the town, it’s displaced residents and relief works need.
-Let’s not forget our four legged friends during all of this. Donations can be made to either The Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. Many families were forced to evacuate without their pets or lost food and medicine supplies for their pets, a donation to either of these organizations allows them to continue their very important work of helping animals affected by Sandy.
-Use your phone to make a donation to any of the following organizations (information via Cliffview Point):
- Red Cross: Online, text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to give $10, or call 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767).
- Salvation Army: Online, text “SANDY” to 80888 to give $10, or call 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).
- United Way: Text RECOVERY to 52000 to make a $10 donation.
- Community Food Bank of New Jersey: Online or by texting FEEDNJ to 80888 to give $10, or call 908-355-3663 , ext. 243.
-Finally, consider donating blood. Or better yet, hosting a blood drive. Relief efforts for Sandy caused the Red Cross to cancel blood drives across the country as they pooled as many resources as possible into the Tri-State area. Contact your local Red Cross to donate blood or organize a blood drive.
–To find out about other ways you can donate goods, please contact the state hotline at 1-800-Jersey-7. They can help point you in the right direction.
There are an unbelievable number of ways to help. I suggest Googling your specific county or town to access their website which may have more hyper-local information. Or even giving a call for their suggestions. It’s also a good idea to reach out to old friends who can give you the scoop first hand of what’s needed and where to send it. If you are familiar with area churches or schools, reach out to them and find out what they need. If you can’t ship directly to them, then you can ship it to a friend who would be willing to do it for you.
Finally, when you contact local government offices, organizations or friends, ask them if there’s a way to support the huge number of people who have come in from out of state to help. Electrical works, relief workers, national security personnel and more have left their homes and families to help out. If you can think of anything to brighten their day, it’s more than worth it to find out where to send it.
I haven’t been able to tear myself from the images of the damage and the recovery efforts. I’m awed by the power of Mother Nature and the human spirit. I am amazed at what life looks like without modern necessities. The images from The Atlantic and The New York Times are both beautifully haunting. The images hypnotize me but so do the stories. This Hurricane Sandy Tumblr feed is fascinating. I’m not familiar with the Tumblr platform but it seems to be aggregated content from any Tumblr site mentioning Sandy. Don’t take my word for it but my powers of deduction tell me it. Enlighten me otherwise.
I hope this finds you and your loved ones physically safe. I hope if you or anyone you know is without, that they’re surrounded by community and in good spirits. Much love and hope to us all.