Upper West Siders heeded the call to help out the people who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, bringing clothes and volunteering their time at shelters over the past few days. Evacuees from other parts of the city were sent to the neighborhood, and hundreds of locals came by to offer services, we hear from Shelly Fine, the community leader who marshaled efforts to help.
After we wrote that shelter residents needed clothes, they got more than enough within a couple of hours. And volunteers came out in force to staff shelters at night.
“I will be contacting the over 220 community volunteers, including individual West Siders (absolutely the best people around), synagogue and church groups, students and faculty from Columbia, Barnard, Fordham and Yeshiva University and other community agencies who have come forward with open hearts and ready hands to do whatever was needed during this difficult time,” Shelly wrote. “Our CERT members have been awesome, using their skills, knowledge, experience and training to really make a difference. A big shout out to Kevin, the custodian at Brandeis and his staff, who operated a model shelter.”
Let’s not kid ourselves: staying in a shelter when you don’t know what happened to your home is a miserable experience. Malcolm Carter went over to the 93rd Street shelter yesterday, and wrote about the experience here. (The photos above are from him.) But it matters when a community opens its arms.
The shelters are being closed today, with evacuees being sent to consolidated shelters in other neighborhoods. As of this afternoon, the 93rd Street shelter was already closed, and the 84th Street shelter was in the process of being closed. The shelter at John Jay is being kept open for frail people and those with special needs.
There are still ways to help out in the Sandy recovery.
Morningside Park is looking for help fixing up that park on Saturday.
Other parks and playgrounds (including Happy Warrior playground on 100th) are also looking for help on Saturday. Learn about that here.
There’s also a need for help at a food bank in the Bronx: “The Food Bank needs volunteers at their warehouse in the Bronx. People are needed Thursday and Friday to repack donated food for delivery to emergency food organizations. The volunteer shifts are 10:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-3:30pm. Address is 355 Food Center Dr, Bronx, 10474 It is accessible by a subway/bus combo: 6 train to Hunts Pt, then Bx6 bus to the Hunts Pt Market.”
Other opportunities can be found at nycservice.org.
Thanks to Mel Wymore, Lauren Schuster, Shula Warren, Linda Rosenthal, Gale Brewer, Malcolm Carter, and Shelly Fine for keeping us in the loop. Please let us know if you hear of more volunteer opportunities.