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Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Ways To Help Victims Of Superstorm Sandy

Volunteers help unload food from a truck on Friday, for distribution to the residents of the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York. (John Minchillo/AP)

We’ve received a number of messages asking for help finding loved ones in storm-affected areas, such as the Rockaways. We’ve also heard from many people who want to know how they can help storm victims.

We’ve compiled the following resources. Please let us know in the comments section if you have additional suggestions, or if you’re still unable to get the help you need.

How To Find A Storm Victim

The Red Cross’s “Safe and Well” website: Search for loved ones or register yourself as “Safe and Well.” The Red Cross also has a smartphone app that lets you find help and let others know you are safe. You can get it for an iPhone or Android phone.

5 Ways To Help Storm Victims

To help storm victims, you can donate money, donate blood, volunteer, donate tangible items or host a student.

#1: Donate Money

  • The Red Cross: Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or mail a contribution to a local Red Cross chapter or the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. The Red Cross is providing food and shelter to storm victims.
  • The Salvation Army: Visit salvationarmyusa.org, text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation, confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” The Salvation Army is providing food and shelter to storm victims.
  • NYC.gov: The Mayor’s Fund To Advance New York City
  • The Humane Society: Visit www.humanesociety.org to support the group’s pet rescue team.
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): Visit www.aspca.org to support its pet rescue efforts.

#2: Donate Blood

  • The Red Cross: Visit www.redcrossblood.org to find the nearest site. The Red Cross said more than 360 Red Cross blood drives were canceled due to the storm.
  • New York Blood Center: Visit www.nybloodcenter.org to find the nearest site.

#3: Volunteer With Response Teams Or At Shelters

  • New Jersey has asked volunteers to call the emergency response hotline 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397) to sign up. Alternate numbers, for when the hotline isn’t staffed, include 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471 or emails can be sent to Rowena.Madden@sos.state.nj.us.
  • New York City asked those interested in helping to email their name, phone number, and borough of residence to nycservice@cityhall.nyc.gov.
  • New York City public advocate Bill de Blasio has his own volunteer program, hosted on his website advocate.nyc.gov. Sign up to volunteer using this Google form.
  • The Rockaways area of Queens, N.Y is organizing volunteers through the website rockawayhelp.com. They’re accepting drivers with cars, volunteers to help with community relief and “boots on the ground” to help clean out houses and clear debris.
  • New York City Food Bank: Sign up to volunteer at www.foodbanknyc.org.
  • NY Red Cross: The Red Cross is asking for medically credentialed volunteers to support NYC shelters. Contact HealthServices@nyredcross.org. At this time, the Red Cross says it no longer needs shelter volunteers.
  • Additional volunteer opportunities compiled by NYC.gov: www.nycservice.org

#4: Donate Tangible Items

While disaster relief organizations, including the Red Cross, are discouraging people from donating items like food, clothing and blankets, there are  many relief centers and smaller groups that are welcoming people to drop off physical items.

  • To help victims in the Rockaways, N.Y. the website rockawayhelp.com has a list of relief centers that are accepting donations (and volunteers). The website also lists the most needed items, which include dry food, water, dust masks, gloves, batteries (especially C and D), toilet paper, diapers, heavy brooms, shovels, dry socks, underwear and blankets.
  • NBC News suggests that if you would like to drop off donations of clothing or other tangible goods in person, there is a distribution center at Miller Field, New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, N.Y. (718) 351-6970. At this location there are representatives from FEMA, National Guard, Red Cross and Salvation Army.
  • WNYC News has an excellent list of ways to help that includes donation drop-off locations all over New York and New Jersey.
  • The Huffington Post is also maintaining a live blog on how to help storm victims, which includes donation drop-off locations in New York and New Jersey.

#5: Host A Student

If you are in the Fairfield, Conn. area, Fairfield University is asking for help housing about 300 students who lived along Fairfield beach. For information, visit www.fairfield.edu or sign up here to offer to host a student.

Additional Storm Resources

Google crisis response: Map with power outages, shelters, weather and more

How to find a shelter: And other helpful tips from Ready.gov

Apply for disaster relief: In order to be eligible for disaster assistance from FEMA, you need to first complete an application form. This will take approximately 20 minutes and should be done immediately. There are 3 ways to register with FEMA: Apply online at FEMA’s website: www.DisasterAssistance.gov; use a smartphone and visit FEMA’s mobile website at m.fema.gov; call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) Monday through Sunday between the hours of 7am and 10pm. Applicants should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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