As I promised last night, here are some resources for those dealing with, or wishing to help in, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
(Updated 11/4/12; more updates likely to follow)
First of all, if you need help:
Federal Government Websites: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Weather/Hurricane/sandy.shtml Information portal for states effected by Sandy http://www.fema.gov/sandy (FEMA’s dedicated Sandy page) http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes?qt-view__field_tabs_view__default__166=2 (Post-hurricane tips)
State Government Websites:
http://www.ready.nj.gov/ (New Jersey) http://www.governor.ny.gov/ (New York) http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/site/default.asp (Connecticut)
Google Maps has an interactive map that’s filled with information on storm damage, power outages, gas availability, and quite a lot more. You can find it here: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy
On the other hand, if you’d like to help, the White House’s blog has some suggestions here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/10/31/how-help-survivors-hurricane-sandy
If you’d rather go it alone, here are a few suggestions:
Start by reading this great primer from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR): http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Resources/News-Stories/2012/October/How-To-Help-Do-This-Not-That
There is now a Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, the website for which is https://sandynjrelieffund.org/index.html
Shore Helpers is another nifty resource I’ve come across that seeks to connect those who want to help with those who need it: http://www.shorehelpers.com/
Donate. If it’s a national charity like the American Red Cross, they may have procedures in place to ensure your donation goes where you’d like; if you’re not sure, ask, and don’t be shy about making your wishes clear. If it’s something tangible — food or clothing, for example — call in advance to find out what’s needed. This can vary widely based not only on geography, but also on what the organizations on the ground already have stockpiled, or have already received. They may well be up to their ears in canned goods but short on toiletries, for instance; a tube of Colgate may go much farther than a can of soup.
Also find out if your employer will match your donations, either by percentage or in full. If they do, what you give will be multiplied that much more. If they don’t, consider donating online or by text message. The funds will often be available much faster to organizations much faster than they would’ve been if you’d sent a check. And don’t forget smaller, often local organizations. Some of these, naturally, will be providing disaster assistance. Others may have missions not related to Sandy at all, but they’ll still need your help. People are unfailingly generous when disaster strikes, but often the donations flow to larger, better-known organizations at the expense of smaller ones, while organizations that aren’t doing disaster-related work often get hit hard at times like this because the money’s flowing elsewhere.
And since we’re all (or mostly) photographers here, use your talents to get the word out, along with visuals. Idealist.org is a good starting point to network with charities and NGO’s in your area, as is your nearest Red Cross or United Way chapter. I’ve also seen a couple of dedicated photo charities spring up in the wake of Sandy, and I’m in the process of researching those now (as well as reaching out to some established photo charities to see what they may have in the pipeline). If you’re short on time but would like to donate money, be sure to check Charity Navigator first.
In either case, do your due diligence; you want your time, your money and your talent put to their best use, rather than being wasted.
Questions, comments, suggestions, or further resources? Let me know in the comments section, below.