'Occupy Sandy': People unite in wake of superstorm devastation
Some 750,000 New Yorkers are still without power and at least 18 have been killed, as large swaths of New York City remain underwater. Starting in the Lower East side and moving through New York's five boroughs, OWS volunteers have teamed up with international environmental organization 350.org and people-powered disaster aid group recovers.org, to help bring together those in need with those wishing to aid the relief effort.With social media as their beacon, OWS is using the limitless organizational power of the web to make a real impact on the ground with the help of local churches and city agencies. Occupy asked those wishing to get involved to tweet using the hashtag #SandyVolunteer and for those who need help to tweet using the hashtag #SandyAid. They have also set up a Facebook page to help coordinate logistical efforts.Volunteers are currently canvassing the streets for those in need, giving aid when possible and passing back information to Recovers.org who, via their online toolkit, will match needs with offers.
OWS has called on anyone with "experience in or tools for medical and psychological services, electrician work, plumbing, construction, financial or legal services, debris and tree removal, childcare, transportation, senior services or language skills" to sign up at one of three current sites in the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Red Hook in Brooklyn, and Astoria in Queens – all of which are along the waterfront and experienced flooding.Drop off points have also been established throughout Brooklyn for those able to donate candles, flashlights, batteries, water, food and other amenities. They've also set up a pay portal for those wishing to make financial donations to help in the recovery efforts. The American Red Cross is also collecting donations, coordinating blood donations, and looking for volunteers to staff its shelters. The mayor's office has suggested the NYC Service be employed, a government initiative which coordinates volunteer efforts on a year-round basis. They have promised to notify volunteers once volunteering opportunities become available."We've seen an enormous outpouring of support from people who want to volunteer & contribute", New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote via Twitter in regards to NYC Service.But he reserved the most praise for the city's first responders, whom he lauded for their "heroic efforts to protect New Yorkers" during the storm."I can’t say enough about the extraordinary work of our first responders at the FDNY and NYPD, EMS, hospital workers, and more."Bloomberg said in spite of the monumental effort needed to get the city that never sleeps once again running at full clip, New York is "on the path to recovery."