|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
Watching news clips of the massive destruction to the northeast from Hurricane Sandy makes my heart ache. Arial views of the Jersey shoreline, pedestrian shots of flood waters, and the unbelievable footage of a neighborhood that was destroyed by fire are only a small sampling of what I’m sure is mass destruction. Not only have so many structures along the shoreline been destroyed by high winds and pounding surf, but hundreds of thousands of buildings and homes have undergone water damage that will take months to clean up. Additionally, power outages and cool autumn temperatures have made life incredibly difficult for hundreds of thousands of residents in the affected areas.
Here in Joplin, our first-hand experience with a natural disaster and the efforts required to rebuild after such a storm provides us with a tremendous amount of empathy for those on the East Coast who are suffering from the storm’s destruction. The challenge of cleaning up after a major disaster can seem insurmountable, especially combined with the fact that so many citizens are still displaced or have no electricity and/or clean water. We know how this feels.
Most of us believe in the idea of “paying it forward”, and for those of us in Joplin, helping with the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy just makes sense. Below I have listed some ways you can help – whether it be through volunteer efforts or monetary donations. Hopefully there is something here for everyone.
As always, thank you for helping to make the world a better place.
- Donate directly to the Red Cross. The Red Cross is still working to help provide shelter, food, and water to those directly affected by the hurricane. You can donate $10 by texting “Redcross” to 90999. When you receive a reply, simply type “yes” to confirm your donation. You can also donate any amount you wish on the Red Cross website. Additionally, area Walgreens stores are taking donations when you use your credit or debit card to purchase items at the stores.
- According to NBC’s Rock Center, families are in need of donations of gift cards for retailers such as Toys ‘R Us or Target. Please mail gift cards to Rock Center with Brian Williams, 30 Rockefeller Plaza #412E, New York, NY 10112.
- Through the remainder of the week, TOMS will donate $5 for every pair of shoes purchased and $10 for eyewear purchased at TOMS.com. Now is a great time to purchase a holiday gift (or two!) and help recovery efforts at the same time.
- Buy a print from Zona Foto, a San Francisco-based photography studio that is donating proceeds from a series of prints of the Jersey Shore to ASPCA and Waves for Water.
- Volunteer or donate to Operation BBQ Relief, a group that was founded to help provide meals to residents and first responders here in Joplin after the tornado hit in May 2011. Since then the organization has helped provide meals and relief efforts to areas in the U.S. hit by other natural disasters such as flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
- Sign up to become a volunteer with AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a national community service organization that provides adults an opportunity to use their skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in a community. Recently AmeriCorps volunteers from Montana and Delaware have been deployed to the affected areas on a 30-day disaster response mission.
- Donate to the ASPCA. The ASPCA is providing temporary shelters, food, and veterinary services for hundreds of animals displaced from their homes – and owners – by Hurricane Sandy.
- The Southwest Missouri Fraternal Order of Police will be collecting donations this Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Qdoba restaurant on 7th Street in Joplin. The Order is accepting donations of non-perishable food, clothing, and personal hygiene items.
- Answer the call for help in New York's Rockaway communities, which were hard hit by the storm and are in need of diapers, food, water, and blankets as well as volunteers to help with clean up efforts.