To those of you who have power, food, shelter, and heat this holiday, you are still better off than thousands of Sandy survivors in New York and New Jersey. For the over 3,000 still without power and tens of thousands displaced - some permanently - it’s getting more difficult as the weather gets colder.
So please, consider giving to some of these organizations this holiday season:
The Ali Forney Center - This non-profit provides housing for homeless LGBT youth in NYC, and its headquarters were decimated by the hurricane.
The Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence - This shelter for victims of domestic abuse had to throw out massive amounts of food thanks to power outages. They are looking for money and grocery store gift cards to help them restock.
Rockabus - One of the worst hit areas of the storm, entire neighborhoods in Rockaway Beach have been completely wiped out. Many residents are still living in the streets as rescue crews and building inspectors continue to assess the damage. Rockabus has put together a list of organizations that need donations of money and time. I would recommend against donating to the Salvation Army as their practices are openly homophobic, and there are plenty of LGBT folks impacted by this storm.
Feeding America - This is one of the nation’s largest food banks, and a charity that uses 97% of its revenue on program expenses as opposed to administrative expenses. They’re on the front lines against food insecurity, and they’re more necessary than ever with so many people displaced this holiday.
K.I.D.S. - Diapers, food supplies, clothes, you name it - if a toddler through teen needs it, K.I.D.S. provides it. This charity has a 10 to 1 matching system that multiplies every dollar you give by ten, and they’re working hard to provide displaced families with the supplies they need to survive in the wake of Sandy.
There are plenty of ways to give back this Thanksgiving. The best method is to give locally, because local shelters know the needs of their community, and are more likely to help residents in need regardless of immigration status - another important thing to consider with this storm.
It’s easy to ignore all of the damage that remains in NY and NJ. I was in Baltimore when the storm hit and my power came back on after a few days. There are people whose power is still out, more than three weeks later. There are people whose homes are gone - they can’t go back to them because there is simply nothing to go back to. The media has by and large lost interest in this story, and it’s easy to forget how bad things still are. So please, take some time out of your day to remember. Donate what you can, volunteer if you can, spread the word.