Talisa Chang: Rockaways
Sharing how things went today:
Rockaways Day 2: Clean up and cooking. In the morning we went to St. Francis and got instructions and addresses to go help people clean out their basements to prevent mold. These places were completely flooded past the ceiling, everything was muddy, waterlogged, and starting to rot. Many more houses to help.
Then we saw on Facebook that there was need for hot food in the 20s so we set up our propane stove in a parking lot near the projects and made vegetable soup. People trickled through, it's hard for people to trek down the many stairs and it is cold. After dark we drove around and found a park on 84th and Rockaway blvd where people were charging phones at a generator. National guard was there. Distributed rest of food, left some as people kept trickling in.
Some Takeaways: Be patient, it takes time to find who to help. Be persistent, those in need aren't always visible. Be flexible, keep adapting, don't get discouraged or pessimistic that you're not helping enough. Every bit counts. Also, it's not about you. Thanks to all who donated and supported today!
Sofia Gallisá Muriente: Rockaways
For the third day in a row, Occupy Sandy Relief NYC volunteers have been giving instructions TO and receiving donations FROM the National Guard. Read that again. Oh, it's real.
Jeff Kissam: Rockaways
Today a group of Volunteers helped assemble solar-powered portable power sources for people in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Sandy. These kits were donated by the GoalZero team (through Thursday, November 15, we are initiating a "You Buy One, We Give One" If you or anyone you know can afford to donate in this way, do it!) The GoalZero people are on the ground delivering autonomous power sources via the Occupy Sandy volunteer network and Team Rubicon.
With a portable battery pack people can move around. Once power is portable in these disaster areas people on the front lines will be able to mobilize relief faster and more effectively. This is the technology of decentralized organization. Jeremy from research and development at GoalZero, who is coordinating distribution of the solar-powered power stations, said that he didn’t realize what the Occupy people were about “until an army of volunteers walked in.”
James Chris Fields: From Alabama
Toomer's for Tuscaloosa, Occupy Sandy Relief NYC, all my friends! Y'all made me so proud today I just want to go a slobbering sobfest. So many volunteers running, so much information relayed across all platforms, blankets, food, shovels, people-power magick. I am so proud to have worked with all of you today to make it happen. Tomorrow, if luck prevails, the first planeload of supply will be landing in Brooklyn from LifeLinePilots and by the end of the week a solid pipeline of supplies and food will be making it to all the people who need it. And I didn't sign a single form today, as it should be. Love from far Alabama! @theChrisBunny!
Abbie Hertz: Rockaways
It is crazy there. Everyone is just so cold and so hungry and so tired of canned food and snacks. Babies are really suffering the most. There is no way to heat a bottle so they have to deal with cold formula, when there is even formula and bottled water available. They all have the wrong size diapers because only certain sizes can be found and it's not like they can communicate back and forth to get right sizes. Today we pumped water out of the basement for a mom that had one month old twin premature babies that desperately need to be on a nebulizer several times a day. But there's no power, no hospital, and no clinic. Her babies' lungs sound awful. I found a few infant diapers for her and HoY (House of Yes) gang brought over some formula that will last them 24 hrs or so for two newborns. They also have twin 2 year olds next door, their cousins. They were drinking the last of their vitamin D milk that was already starting to go off and crying because they were hungry. It is just heartbreaking.
Women also need tampons and pads. No one is thinking to donate them much yet, and women need these things!! Especially with no hot showers!! Everyone needs blankets. They are so cold at night. Everyone needs extra flashlights and batteries. And everyone is VERY appreciative of hot food. Another family we helped pump the water from their basement had to throw everything away. Everyone's cars are trashed. Their family heirlooms are trashed. Their furniture, baby cribs, mattresses, etc are trashed. They have no power. It is WET and DIRTY. There is no end in sight. Please donate items, money, and YOUR TIME. Helping hands willing to get dirty are so sorely needed in so many areas right now.
If you are going in bring work gloves, boots (rain boots/wellies preferable), latex gloves, snacks for yourself, contractor garbage bags, shovels if you can, gas generators and sump pumps if you have them.
Lori Zito: East Village
Anyone know of a public shower or evacuation center near Peter Cooper Village (23rd and 1st)? Some residents have not been able to shower for a week. And one walked over to evac center at Baruch college and said there was a sign on door saying it's closed and they should go to 48th st! This was an 80 year-old man who walked all that way for a hot shower only to be disappointed. I know I have seen public showers around here somewhere. Please help! Thx!
Siri Thorson: Staten Island
Wild ride back from volunteering on Staten Island today with David Scorca, Kelley Lutter, Christopher Ryan Villarreal and our new pal Sid. Car died on 278E before we could make it back over the bridge to Brooklyn. Had to be towed to a parking lot and sit in a pizza place for an hour, but help came from Occupy Sandy Relief NYC so quickly and efficiently I still can't believe it! Endless thanks to Bill from Greenpoint for driving us all home safe and sound just before the sun went down.
The NY Red Cross has A LOT to learn from you. Thank you for your leadership in organizing the volunteer efforts/opportunities throughout the region.
Mary Mo: Rockaways
What an inspirational crew! We cleaned out 2 houses' basements, one completely filled with sand and heating oil, and the other completely gutted. It was back-breaking work, but at least the houses were still standing.
Steve Croy: Staten Island
We volunteered today in Staten Island and helped demolish a home. The owners said that the people across the street are in desperate need of help (a family with a 3 week old), mostly manual labor. It's in the New Dorp area...visit 45 Tarlton St. to support. It appeared that many homes in this area could use this type of support.
Dennis Saleeby: Brooklyn to Staten Island
We've got volunteers running supplies all over brooklyn and Staten Island. They're running out of gas. Where's the National Guard? We've got private citizens running insulin to diabetics in Rockaway. WHERE'S THE NATIONAL GUARD? Regular people are being relied on to run food, water, clothing and medicine to people in need all over Red Hook, Rockaway, Staten Island, Coney Island? WHERE IS THE NATIONAL GUARD? Coney Island is in utter chaos and complete lawlessness. You posted a lot about your politics, and how your candidate can help America. Can you help to motivate some politicians to call on Washington DC ?
I was wondering if people are interested in n6 (election-related) actions. There will be all kinds of voting problems in NJ,SI and parts of NYC from Hurricane Sandy's destruction. People like my 90 friends who still are without power and water in the 14th fl apt are so angry that Wall Street was fixed right away. SI people are upset that the city is working hard to prepare for the marathon instead of helping them. Priorities are clearly out of order and people are furious with Wall St. and corrupt government.
Anyway, I'd like to suggest that we continue with some of the planned actions. After seeing that incredible picture of the GS (Goldman Sachs) building, I thought that pic could make it to a front page along with some good copy. Also, if there was an event maybe take some of the planning for Halloween like the line of people behind Monopoly Man and incorporate that somehow.
Sara Burke: Staten Island
We are still out of power at our house but World Maker (from the “Commons”-focused Working Group Making Worlds) John McGloin and family hosted our family of 4 for showers and device charging yesterday.
We are told by ConEd that we are not expected to have power until November 9th. A lot of people in our neighborhood, including the commune Ganas, is in the dark.
Fortunately, we found a friendly family in our neighborhood that had the space to put us up for a few days and have moved into their top floor just now, because it is really cold where we are with no heat or hot water, and very isolated in the dark streets. It's been hard on our kids, who are also expected to keep up with new homework coming over the Internet this week!
Now that we are ok for a few days, I want to help others who are in need. A lot of people with no power need to be matched with people who have extra space and power/hot water/Internet to share in mutual aid... I want to work on this in my neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods.
Pamela Brown: Rockaways
I went out to the Rockaways this afternoon with some supplies and was horrified that things are not at all dissimilar from Katrina... (Strike Debt) Telethon aside, I saw no signs of the Red Cross or FEMA... People are cold, hungry and tired... Communities have been completely devastated and are gravely in need of our help... Some of us who started off at the church on 54th Street in Sunset Park drove around and were able to secure a lot of supplies from a church in Gerritsen Beach - they were featured on CBS and now they have way more stuff....
Liz Roberts: Flatbush/Ditmas Park
so glad they cancelled the marathon so those resources can be used for relief efforts! so glad many more in manhattan now have heat and electricity! and so glad my mom is so awesome--instead of me taking a break from the frightful pile of grad school applications to see her for her birthday, she insisted that i do relief effort in her honor. collecting stuff in Flatbush/Ditmas Park for the Rockaways tomorrow a.m. give me a shout if you can contribute food, blankets, foil, pet food, cleaning supplies, flashlights, towels, socks...
Antonio Serna: East Village
The village and Chinatown are still in black out. It's very strange feeling. Please coordinate before you go since there are no signals on phones in most parts. Once you are there you might not be able to make contact with anyone. I was able to go on the williamsburg or manhattan bridge for phone service.
At night it's incredibly dark, bring flashlights and bright clothing. Only lights are from police vehicles parked through out the area.
Some restaurants are serving grilled food by candle, NYU and some NY Firehouses have charging outlets.
There is a constant caravan of shuttle buses running up and down 3rd avenue to Grand Central. Buses to Williamsburg are fewer and overcrowded, might be better walking. I'm not sure what the weekend service will be like. I live in the East Village, so I can't offer much, but I have 2 extra bicycles if anyone needs transportation, with the understanding that there are no traffic lights.
Today FEMA stopped by and asked one of our lead organizers, Diego, for advice. Our advice is simple. Simply love your neighbor as though they were you. You don't have to be religious to embrace this act. These kids are sending a message to those NGO's out there that get the lion's share of donations, but have not been anywhere to be seen. #WeGotThis