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10 Ways to Volunteer with Hurricane Sandy Relief this Weekend

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As a new week approaches, volunteers prepare to make great strides in cleanup and relief efforts surrounding Hurricane Sandy. Friday morning, Governor Cuomo announced that while the definitive count of people affected by Sandy is still unknown, a rising 154,000 people have requested FEMA aid. And 88,000 of those who requested aid reside in NYC, where 4 percent of the city is still without power, and the many more are unable to use their restored service due to damage. The darkness will soon diminish, as 1,600 crews were dispatched to New York yesterday to offer backup to utility companies.

There is another silver lining too. The recovery efforts have brought hands-on assistance from across the country, and support from all over the world to communities affected by Sandy. Social media has taken the lead in organizing aid and communicating up to the minute coverage. Volunteer opportunities have brought together diverse groups from runners to lawyers to lend their skills for the cause. In fact, last weekend the New York Runners In Support of Staten Island mobilized 1,200 would-be New York Marathoners via Facebook in just 36 hours. The group delivered supplies, cleared debris and attended to residents. This Sunday, they’re ready to repeat the “race.”

Here’s how you can get involved in their group, along with 9 other new volunteer opportunities looking for help this weekend:

1. New York Runners In Support Of Staten Island

The group organizes at the Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan and is hoping to surpass its impressive number of 1200 runners who participated last weekend. All updates are available on the Facebook page, or by searching the Twitter hashtag #supportstatenisland. You can also join the weekend long Staten Island Mega Cleanup from 9am Friday to 7pm Sunday. Check the Facebook page to RSVP and see a list of recommended supply items needed to volunteer.

2. BBQ Brethren

BBQ Brethren, one of the largest BBQ federations in the US, is hosting a weekend long BBQ for the community of Long Beach. Volunteers are needed to prepare and deliver food to thousands of local families. Volunteers should report to Long Beach City Hall, 1 West Chester St.; Long Beach NY 11561 at 11 a.m. on Saturday and or Sunday. For more information, contact Nicole Papadopoulos at npapadopoulos@hopeforthewarriors.org.

3. Occupy Sandy

The Occupy movement has resurfaced in the form of Occupy Sandy, drawing over 5,000 volunteers in the past 5 days alone. This weekend, Occupy Sandy is seeking experienced construction workers to work on large community construction and clean up. Volunteers should report to Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, 520 Clinton Avenue on Saturday, November 10, 7:30-10:30am. Occupy Sandy also needs volunteers for community meal delivery and outreach all weekend. Volunteers should report to St Jacobi Lutheran Church, 5406 4th Avenue Saturday- Sunday 10am-3pm. RSVP here.

Follow the Twitter page #SandyVolunteer for a comprehensive list and to the minute updates of the latest volunteer opportunities.

4. Friends of Firefighters

Friends of Firefighters needs volunteers capable of physical labor to work on individual homes in South Brooklyn. Volunteers are also needed to sort and distribute donations Saturday – Sunday 10 -3pm. Stay updated on their Facebook page.

5. New York City Food Truck Association

Earlier this week, Mayor Bloomberg announced a new partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Food Truck Association, along with the NYC Food Film Festival. JetBlue also partnered with the Food Truck Association to take a large part in the aims to provide hot meals and the city’s many distribution centers. At least 1.4 million meals have already been distributed, but the need is continually rising. You must have a license to actually work in a food truck, but the operation needs volunteers for fundraising to stay afloat as each meal costs about $7. A simple way to help from anywhere in the world is to spread the word by retweeting posts on Twitter @nycfoodtruck. Donations can be made here.

6. The Last Resort Rescue

The Last Resort Rescue is working together with the Animal Humane Society and other shelters and teams from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to provide care for pets displaced by Sandy or surrendered in evacuation. TLR seeks both volunteers willing to travel for emergency care and volunteers with trucks for transport. Foster homes are also urgently needed for pets awaiting adoption. This weekend TLR will be collecting dog and cat food, cat litter, dog beds, blankets, towels, tarps, water jugs, hand warmers, generators, and gift cards for pet supplies. To help or donate, email Nancy at thelastresort@aol.com.

7. The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

Last Friday, NYLAG dispatched a storm response unit to assist Hurricane Sandy victims facing a wide variety of legal issues. Hundreds of requests for help have been made, and pro bono partners are desperately needed. Pro bono attorneys and any other non- legal volunteers can attend a live webinar training to learn more.

8. Clean up Cooney Island

Staff from the Coney Island’s famous Cyclone, Luna Park and Scream Zone will head up a massive cleanup of the boardwalk and park grounds Saturday-Sunday. Perk: All volunteers will walk away with a wristband for free rides next summer. Follow the hashtag #ConeyRecovers or visit their website for updates and directions. All interested volunteers must fill out a sign up form and RSVP to social@caiparks.com. People’s Relief is also seeking translators who speak Russian, Arabic, Yiddish and Spanish to help elderly and disabled victims stuck in housing projects. For more information email peoplesrelief@gmail.com or call Adrien at (201) 835- 2294

9. Rockaways Food Delivery Ride

Silk Road Cycles is teaming up with Affinity Cycles for a Rockaways Food Delivery Ride. To volunteer, meet with your bike at Affinity Cycles (616 Grand St) on Saturday at 9:30am. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring batteries, cleaning supplies and food donations. Contact Jason info@infinitycycles.com for more information.

10. World Cares Center + Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery is taking on an effort dedicated to cleaning up Sandy’s hardest hit areas. Training sessions provided by World Cares Center dubbed, “Operation Muck Out,” teach volunteers how to stay safe and organized. The next session is Tuesday 11/3 from 7-8pm at the Brooklyn Brewery tasting room. If you tend to take the charge, stay for the Team Leaders Training from 8-9pm. RSVP to Carla at cvilla@brooklynbrewery.com. Brooklyn Brewery is also collecting non-perishables and baby supplies this weekend benefiting the Rockaways Beach Surf Club.

For more information on donating time and money, find out:

By Courtney Crockett for PeterGreenberg.com

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