Hurricane Sandy has left millions without power, and hundreds of thousands with damage to their homes. Here are the 10 best ways you can help victims in the northeastern USA, who were affected by the devastating chain of events spawned by Sandy. After seeing the devastation firsthand Alexandra Kellerman who's based in the area hit by the storm, emailed the following list of "most wanted" items, for those wanting to contribute something truly useful to victims.
Bell Harbor House
1. Flashlights, Candles and Lanterns
Receiving flashlights and candles during a power outage is like finding a Hermes bag in a thrift store. They're not not only for personal use: individual blocks have banded together to take turns patrolling in the evening to protect themselves and fellow neighbors from crime and looters. Donate large candles if possible. There is no heat or light in any of the stricken homes and all precautionary measures purchased before the storm were lost under a minimum 5 feet of water in homes hit by Sandy.
Lanterns, flashlights and candles are lifesavers
2. Your Time and Your Body
It's hard to reach the locations most affected by Sandy, but manpower is desperately needed. . . especially when it comes to cleaning out the flooded basements of flooded homes in New York and New Jersey. Do some research about how to keep yourself safe in a volunteer situation, and take what you need to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Then please pitch in where and when you can.
There's more work than there are people to do it
3. Blankets/Sleeping bags
Everything is wet, and the weather is dropping severely each night. Cold is a very high risk to those without power. Blankets and sleeping bags serve a number of purposes, and keep stricken populations from ontracting colds and pneumonia, or freezing to death.
4. Gallons of Bleach
There is going to be a mold epidemic in all of the homes hit by flooding – they need to be cleaned immediately, and bleach is critical.
Mold takes over after flooding
5. Diapers (Size 5) and Adult Diapers
Most newborns were evacuated upon the storm, but young children are still in the hard-hit communities. There are also so many stranded elderly, many of whom rely on adult diapers for dignity. Please consider donating this critical necessity that so many overlook.
6. A Car
Most people are too far or to elderly to walk to community centers, and need supplies driven out to them. If you can volunteer to make a few runs in your vehicle, it would be very much appreciated.
Neighborhoods are desperate for supplies
7. Gas Cans . . . and Gas, if safely possible
People are using gas-powered generators for critical heat. Others are using their cars as warm places in which to charge their phones and get news. Those who can leave via car would like to . . . but gas lines are almost inpenetrable. If you're in the area, and can offer gas safely, it would be a lifeline to someone.
8. Disposable Baby and Body Wet Wipes
No hot water means showering is impossible. A lack of personal hygience is not only unhealthy, it can cause stress and depression. Body wipes are an easy pick-me-up which make a huge difference in a victim's outlook.
Bread, shelf-stable milk, cereals, canned meat, beef jerky, cereal bars and dried fruits are all godsends. Stores have been ravaged by the storm. Contents of refrigerators have gone bad. But people still need to eat.
Unopened soy milk doesn't require refrigeration
Please donate as generously as you can, to the Salvation Army, United Way or any local emergency service fund in the New Jersey / New York area.
You can donate to the Salvation Army here: https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/disaster
Text a $10 donation to the United Way by texting the word RECOVERY to 52000. Or donate online at https://donate.unitedwaynyc.org/page/contribute/uwsandyrecovery
Red Cross is accepting donations here: https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod10002&utm_source=Disney_DayofGiving&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=Sandy