After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, many people across Long Island and many other parts of the east coast are now homeless, powerless, and suffering from the losses of personal property. As Long Islanders, it is our duty to help those desperately in need in our area. There are many efforts in our area to aid these people.
Junior Josh Bainnson shared his experiences from the storm, “During the hurricane, we lost power for a week and went to stay with my grandparents. Then when the nor’easter hit, our home was the place to go for anyone that needed heat, a bed, food, or power.” Many people like Bainnson opened up their homes to their family and friends who needed a place to stay after the storm. Junior Swasti Mehta also commented on how the hurricane affected her, “We were without power for a few days and our friends allowed us to stay over. When we got our power back we returned the favor to them by lending our house because we had WiFi while they still didn’t.”
While Long Islanders attempt to return to their normal lives, some are still unable to do so. As of December 10th, there are approximately 209 LIPA customers on Long Island that are still without power. One Melville attorney is filing a class action lawsuit against LIPA and National Grid for their negligence and recklessness during this time of need in Long Island. The cleanup efforts are still evident as there are many areas in our community with downed trees and stray wires, even present on Wolf Hill Road.
The gas rationing has ended and many parts of Long Island are beginning to return to normalcy; however, many citizens are still volunteering in areas all across Long Island to help those devastated from Sandy. Since there are Long Islanders struggling in cold and powerless homes, there are many relief opportunities set up all over Long Island. For example, all Ace Hardware Stores are serving as drop-off locations for non-perishable food items and clothing donations to those in need on the south shore of Long Island. Also, the Long Beach Rec Center could always use more volunteers to help unpack or sort clothing, and distribute donated items. Long Island Cares is needs volunteers to help sort food donations so that they can be distributed as quickly as possible. In addition, to sign up to volunteer with the Red Cross, visit: www.nyredcross.org or donate to FEMA, a federal organization offering relief for rebuilding efforts throughout Long Island. Lastly, NYC Service, Congregation Beth Elohim, and Occupy Sandy are all actively looking for volunteers to help areas all around the island. Information can be found on each of their websites on how to get involved.
It’s understandable that many of us are too young or do not have the accessibility to volunteer, but many organizations are accepting donations as well. Staten Island Recovers is coordinating “community-powered disaster recovery” for Staten Island and they are accepting donations of clothing, tools, and any other helpful items you may have. NYC.gov lists Public Emergency Shelters for Hurricane Sandy that are also taking donations for Staten Island, along with several other areas in New York City. Food Not Bombs is taking donations for not only New York City, but Boston and Philadelphia as well. Many organizations are even letting people donate through text message. Listed below are a couple of organizations that do exactly that, along with their numbers:
- The Salvation Army: Donate $10 by texting STORM to 80888
- The Food Bank For New York City: To donate text FBNYC to 50555
- The American Red Cross: Donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999
West sophomore Morgan Rampolla shared her efforts in helping those in need, “My aunt, who lives in Long Beach, is currently living with us because of the damage Hurricane Sandy has caused. Because I can relate to the stories of those in even more need, my friend, Gabby Barone, and I went to a nearby church to bag basic goods and prepare bagels for the homeless. It was a very rewarding experience. I also donated hats and gloves to those in the cold at a nearby temple.”
While most students at Hills West may not be feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy any longer, there are many on Long Island who still do. For more information on what you can do to help with the Hurricane Sandy restoration efforts, follow @SandyVolunteer on twitter, visit the HHH Patch, or go to News12.com.