Like you, I have been stunned by the destruction that Hurricane Sandy brought to the Northeast – especially to New Jersey and New York. So many of us want to do something to help. The desire to do Tikkun Olam (Healing the World) is in our DNA. The situation in many parts of New York City and the New Jersey coast is dire and still unfolding. I have spoken with friends who are there and actively volunteering. The needs are great and will continue to grow over the next few weeks. The extent of the damage is still unknown. One challenge that has been shared with me is that the money being collected by larger social service agencies is not getting to the victims of Sandy quickly enough. People are suffering right now – they need shelter, clothing and food immediately. In an effort to help us help our family and friends up north, I wanted to share just a few organizations that I have heard about who are on the frontlines, right now, making a real difference. I am not “endorsing” these organizations. I am simply doing my best to share their work with you in an attempt to connect our community to organizations making a difference.
Arena Restaurant in Staten Island, a borough of New York that has been devastated, is open and feeding people at no charge. They are a re-charge station for electronics and providing free ice for coolers to keep perishables cold. In addition, Arena is also taking and distributing the food, bottled water, diapers, clothes and blankets to community members as well as taking donations to the Emergency Children’s Health Organization (ECHO), which will match all donations. Checks should be made out to the ECHO. They are on Facebook at facebook.com/arenarestaurantbarlounge.
The Educational Alliance, a social service agency created in 1889 to help Jewish immigrants get settled on the Lower East Side of New York, continues to serve the neighborhoods of downtown Manhattan. The Educational Alliance is working closely with seniors on the Lower East Side – many of whom are without power and trapped in their homes due to limited mobility. They are also assisting children and families who were evacuated during the storm, but returning to their damaged apartments. More information on the work being done by Educational Alliance can be found at edalliance.org.
In New Jersey, one of the organizations that is organizing hands on relief projects is Jersey Cares. Their twitter @JerseyCares appears to be updated more frequently than their website jerseycares.org.
I will continue to share any information that I learn. I know we all want to help. Thanks for caring.
Join us for Shabbat tonight at 7:30 as we gather as a community to send strength up north.