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Volunteer Opportunities to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

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As power is slowly being restored throughout New Jersey and New York, the volunteer efforts have begun in earnest. Wherever you are in the country, you can volunteer your time and resources to help those most affected by Hurricane Sandy.

In New Jersey:

Governor Chris Christie has arranged for an emergency volunteer hotline. For complete information, call  1-800-537-7397 or 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471.

Those who are able to help out with manual labor in New Jersey should sign up at Interoccupy.net/occupysandynj/.  Started by a coalition for members from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, and interoccupy.net, the site offers news and updates for relief efforts as well as a form for those looking to help.  The short form requests information such as where and when you are available to help and what skills you are able to contribute or if you are willing to house those displaced by Sandy.

Other volunteer opportunities are available through volunteer site JersyCares.com, which lists numerous locations across the state where volunteers are needed as well as the specific type of help that volunteers in that area would be providing.

In New York:

Many organizations throughout the city are calling for volunteers. You can sign up online with New York Cares, you can email New York City Hall at nycservice@cityhall.nyc.gov.

Hospitals and clinics are in need of blood. Click here to see where city residents can donate blood.

To donate food, the Food Bank of the City of New York is distributing to those in need after Hurricane Sandy. Also, if you’re attending a larger New York area Farmer’s Market, there will be a drop off tent when you can donate additional food to those in need.

One of the fastest ways to get involved personally is through NYCservice.org.  This government run site serves as a hub featuring relief opportunities from organizations all over NYC.  These opportunities range from specific and skilled such as Red Cross NY seeking medically credentialed individuals to assist in shelters, to those that anyone can do such as helping to clean up city parks.

If you have a specific specialized skill such as a Commercial Driver’s license, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Health Profession, or Registered Nurse, you may want to submit your interest to volunteer directly to the Red Cross by clicking here.

In you’re in Brooklyn, you can lend your support to Red Hook and Far Rockaway–two communities hardest hit by Sandy. Adults can volunteer in shifts at  evacuation shelters, which are also in need or hygiene products and money.

You can support the Red Hook Initiative with donations of pre-prepared food (including food for children), candles, utensils such as spoons and bowls, jugs of water, flashlights, batteries, power strips, toiletries, paper towels,  paper for printing fliers, soft blankets (fleece, not wool) and clothes.

Throughout the US:

If you do not live in the states directly hit, you can still donate money and resources. Start with FEMA which has put together a list of charitable organizations in all the affected states.

The Red Cross is also accepting donations of blood or money. To donate funds, text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation or go online to donate a specific amount.

You can also volunteer or donate to the Salvation Army. You can register to volunteer (you must have prior disaster relief training) or you can donate. Text “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

To donate supplies, reach out to Feeding America, which is collecting  food, water, and other goods to send to those in need after Sandy. You can also donate supplies through AmeriCares, Catholic Charities USA, Direct Relief International, Feeding America and Operation Blessing International–who are putting together food, emergency kits and medical supplies.

To join in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts, reach out to Team Rubicon and Samaritan’s Purse.

To help the pets affected by the hurricane, reach out the Humane Society which is raising funds for animal rescue.

The most important thing to remember is that even if you can’t get involved at this exact moment, keep checking in with organizations such as the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.  At the start of disaster clean-ups such as this much of the response requires individuals with specialized skills and training, but as time goes on the demand for general labor will only increase as hazardous areas are made safe again.

Outside the US:

Numbers are rising, but right now 71 people have died in the Caribbean following Hurricane Sandy, 54 in Haiti. To help those outside the USA, Operation USA is taking donations for those in Cuba and Haiti. The organization is also working domestically to help those in New York and New Jersey.

For more Volunteer Coverage, check out the Voluntourism Archives.

Additional Hurricane Sandy coverage, includes:

By Lily J. Kosner of PeterGreenberg.com

Feature Image credit: Wikimedia, user: David Shankbone

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