Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers




When Hurricane Sandy came to the mid-Atlantic states on October 29, 2012 it changed the lives of many people who lived along the coast and those who suffered the effects of wind, rain, severe tidal surges and flooding, falling trees and downed power lines.  Now there is a severe shortage of gasoline and cars queue up for many hours, even days waiting to fill up the gas tank. Many are still without electrical power and heat and there are shortages of generators and batteries for flashlights.  This region is also bracing itself for a Nor'easter storm expected to come tomorrow that may cause further damage.  In my last post, I blogged about the things I learned from surviving the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and how better to prepare for future natural disasters.  Now a week later I can add another, wonderful lesson: when there is need, most people are kind and generous!

As you can see from my cell phone photos in this post, volunteers came out to help. Hundreds, if not thousands, of bags full of warm clothing were donated to a make shift donation center in one hard hit area in Brooklyn, New York


There were donations of water, juices, non perishable foods, baby food and formula, diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, children's toys and books,  Boxes upon boxes, worth of supplies


A church school became a temporary shelter for those who lost their homes to flood waters, and complete strangers came out to assist with making hot coffee, tea, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fulfill the immediate need of those who were cold and hungry.


They then set up serving tables filled with trays of hot food from donations that came from restaurants and caterers around the area, as well as local and far away residents. It was neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger. Many worked hard for many hours, but vowed to return the next day.



Cots were set up, and warm fleece blankets were distributed for those that needed shelter for the nights ahead.

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This tiny, neighborhood, volunteer relief center received so many donations that the US National Guard was called by a local assemblyman to come and bring the excess to other local areas in need, such as Coney Island, Seagate, the Rockaways, and Breezy Point.


It was heartwarming to see so many pitch in to help! We loaded excess goods into the National Guard  trucks...



...and into volunteer ambulances....


...and even the city buses that were bringing people to permanent shelters around the borough.
There is still need, especially for D batteries for flashlights, gas for generators, cleaning supplies, strong black bags for disposal of destroyed belonging, rubber boots, gloves, brooms, shovels and mops for clean up. So many lost almost everything in their homes -- furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, personal mementos. Most also lost their cars in the flood surge or to fallen trees. Tens of thousands of people will need to be relocated until housing can be rebuilt or repaired.  This will be an ongoing disaster for many months, if not years, ahead.  Please help in any way you can!  A great portal for volunteers opportunities in New York city is NYC Service. This web page lists a variety of ways to get involved in the cleanup and recovery after Hurricane Sandy. As communities assess their needs and begin to rebuild, more volunteer opportunities will be added. Be sure to check back here for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities throughout the five boroughs.

If you live far away, and would still like to show the kindness of strangers to those in need, you can donate to The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and The United Way, and specifically for New York City though the The Mayors Fund for NYC.

Thank you to everyone who has commented to me and given me your emotional support during this disaster.  My husband and I felt so fortunate not to have suffered damage from the hurricane, and we are trying to volunteer our help as much as possible with those in need.  I may be a little slow in responding to comments but I've read and appreciated each and every one! Please keep all the Hurricane Sandy victims in your prayers.  Thanks so much!
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42 comments:

pam said...

So good to see the help. So much of the news we've been hearing was about people feeling like no one was helping them. I couldn't imagine that....around there are always people coming together to help. Still praying for all....

RoeH said...

Like Anne Frank knew, most people are very good at heart. And when you move to Denver, you'll never have to endure another hurricane again. Just learning how to cook at 5000 plus feet is enduring enough. And lots more fun.

Paula's Postings said...

How kind people are in times of crisis, it's heartwarming to know that there are plenty of people like yourselves willing to help.

Riet said...

Yes that is the beauty of mankind, they do help when it is needed. It is heartwarming to see that everybody is trying to help as much as they can. You yourself and your husband are wonderful volunteers .you can be proud of yourselves.I will keep you all in my thoughts and pray that there will not be another bad day tomorrow.
Have a good week my friend.

Nellie said...

Oh, yes! We still have those who are suffering because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy in our prayers! Our church organizes aid for disasters through UMCOR - United Methodist Committee on Relief - and we contribute in that way. It is refreshing to see the outpouring of assistance, yet much more is needed. Praying for everyone's safety during the coming storm.

eileeninmd said...

Pat, it is heartwarming that so many people are helping those in need. My prayers continue for those that were victims and lost so much from Sandy!

ellen b. said...

Thanks for sharing this post. It really is better than watching the news. Blessings Pat!

Vee said...

We worked in the garage today and I found myself thinking how cold I was rather quickly and how horrible it would be to be living in NYC without any heat. It's wonderful that people are helping each other sort through the supplies and to find food and shelter. It is sobering beyond belief. Your information truly is, as Ellen says, better than the news. Thanks, too, for the volunteer information. I'll pass it along.

Susie said...

Pat, It's good that you and your husband can help...just take care to not stress . I know you can be over whelmed. I am sending to the red cross. I wish I could do more. Prayers and love to all those who suffer. xo, Susie

Yvette said...

You and your neighbors are doing wonderful work, Pat. This has been a horrific wake-up call for the northeast. Mother Nature saying: Pay Attention!

So much is going to have to be changed. It's mind boggling.

It is all so daunting.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

That is so heart-warming to see, Pat! I'm sure even the smallest gesture is so much appreciated.

Lily Hydrangea said...

it's so nice to see this Pat - thank you for sharing.
also, I really appreciate your advice on hurricane preparation in your earlier post.
glad you & yours are ok!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Pat dear, thank you for this personal view (one we won't get elsewhere) of the people, the damage, the hurt, and the hope.

What an amazing trauma for people to endure. Whole blocks of life, memories, hopes, dreams, wiped out forever.

I am so sorry for all this. Donations to the Red Cross don't seem like enough for us.

Sending fond wishes,

Sharon

ARLENE said...

So glad you and your husband are safe, Pat. We feel so fortunate.

Sarah said...

Pat, you and your husband are making a difference. This is a wonderful post of love for our neighbors. Thank you for keeping us informed......Sarah

Michelle said...

Pat, this is so wonderful that you are taking the time to share this side of the story. I only see what is on the news media web site/tv.

Jojo said...

Pat, please email me privately about trying to help. At work I've set up a giving campaign but I've got ideas for other things and woul like to discuss with you. Write when you have a moment and I can also send my phone number.

Betsy Brock said...

I'm glad to see the help! I also know so much more needs to be done and people are really hurting for basic things. Thanks for the post and your pictures, too!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I knew we could count on you and Vinny to pitch in and help. I have donated supplies and food to places in NY and NJ and volunteered yesterday at Belmar, NJ, a beach town that was hard hit. I'll be going back again this weekend. It will take many months and years, as you noted, to get back to "normal." Thanks for letting people know all those places and ways to help in New York. But folks - please don't forget New Jersey.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

You know we are going to help, Pat. Fred's firm is working with the Red Cross, so we've decided to donate to that drive. Usually it's the SA, but this time, it's the RC.

I hope you are well. I'm so sorry to think that a N'oreaster is heading toward the devastated area. Hopefully, it will dissipate. I pray it does.

XO,

Sheila

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Yes, it does restore your faith in your fellow man. I've always said that most people are good, but sadly there will be some stinkers sneaking in trying to take advantage of people while they're down. I hope the latest storm fizzles out.

Sheila said...

It's wonderful to see how a community comes together to help those who need help in a disaster. People are always so generous with donations of their time. I'm glad to see that clothing donations that are not needed are being sent to the areas that are in need of so much help. God bless you and your hubby Pat and all the other good neighbours who are doing what they can to help those who have been devastated by the storm.

Kris said...

You are doing a wonderful thing Pat!!!
xo Kris

Ola said...

thank you for the report from NY after the hurricane ...
when there will be a time for summarizing, I think some specialist should consider how the constructions should be built to avoid such situations...
Blog about life and travelling
Blog about cooking



Sherry "Edie" & Marie Antionette said...

Hi Pat!

We are so happy that you & Vinny are safe! Our prayers have been with and will be with all of you in the devastated areas that Sandy hit. God bless you for all the help you are giving those who have only their lives left. May God bless the survivors of those lost with His peace, love & mercy.

Blessings & big hugs, Sherry, Wes & Chris

Old Kitty said...

It's lovely to see the community pull together in such crises.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Take care
x

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a heart warming story Pat. I really admire you and Vinnie to be a part of helping people. This is what our great country is all about. God bless.
Sam

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

They always say crisis reveals the true character of a person. It is inspiring to see there are so many wonderful souls in the midst of troubled times.

GailO said...

It is good to have my faith in the kindness of mankind renewed...You are one of the special ones! I wish I lived closer to volunteer in person but will have to be satisfied with contributing to Red Cross:(

Cynthia said...

We're on our way from Ohio to New Jersey. But we're not strangers, we're family.

Claudia said...

All the news coming from lower Manhattan is so heart-wrenching. So grateful for all the "angels" volunteering and hoping the rest of the country is opening their wallets.

Jacqueline said...

Beautiful! I did a shout out to your blog today about What I Learned. I also saw that Mountain Breaths did too. Hopefully, we can all do something to help. It disappears from the news so quickly, yet the needs continue for so long!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Heartwarming...to see how people step up to the plate in time of need. Blessings to you and your husband for pitching in as well. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who are still reeling from Sandy...and now n the face of another storm.

The Gathering Place said...

I've found that people are kind, helpful. And caring. Too often the news and media focus on those who aren't. It is nice to be reminded of that goodness. Thanks.

Linda said...

People are kind and good especially when things like this hit. I remember when we had all the fires here and so many people ended up in shelters...the generosity of people was wonderful. I am just so glad you are safe...I hope all is well with the new storm coming through the area. Take care!

podso said...

Such a good post, Pat, to see people helping people. That is the good that comes out of such devastation. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all there. Wondering how the new storm has affected the area ... must turn on the news to see. That was a good post about what you have learned. When we had hurricane Hugo 25 years ago, so very unexpected, we were without power for two weeks. And yes, learned a lot. Stay safe.

Happy@Home said...

It is truly heartwarming to see how people are coming together to help one another. I have been watching the coverage on tv, but have appreciated seeing the situation from your point of view. It is so hard to imagine losing everything at once. My heart goes out to all who are facing this and my heart goes out to the wonderful people (like you and your husband) who are doing so much to make the best of a bad situation.
My husband and I made a donation this morning and our prayers will continue.

Karen Harvey Cox said...

HI Pat,

I was feeling like I wanted to do more than just make a donation. So, I created products with images of NYC to donate the profits to the products. I wrote a post Pat, and included a link to this post and the one about What Hurricane Sandy Taught You.

As always this post speaks to my heart. You and your friends are in my prayers.

Karen

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dear Pat,

I cannot believe what happened, but now that I see the pictures, I do believe it. I have no television and your collection of photos outnumbers what I have been able to glimpse at on the internet. What is wonderful to see IS how everyone is coming together. MAY EACH DAY BRING YOU ALL CLOSER to normality, but forever changed for the GOOD! LOVE TO ALL, Anita

Kathleen said...

It is so sad to see what is going on. Then the snow on top of it.
My son's friend was killed when a tree fell on him. He had just put his 2 little girls in their car seats to take them and his wife to a safe place.
So many of the people who lost their home were older and had paid off their mtgs, and had no ins as it wasn't required.
They are left with nothing. So sad.
Be well, Pat!

Chatty Crone said...

I think people are genuinely good - don't you? sandie

Annesphamily said...

I have to share your post with Linda at Prairie Flower Farm. Her phamily is always searching for ways to help out and this is one disaster I know they would like to know more about. Thank you Pat. You are a good lady.