Please consider helping out this Thursday and Friday! Especially if you have a car.
A letter from Occupy:
Dear Occupy Sandy volunteers,
St. Jacobi (54th and 4th ave) and St. Luke and St. Matthews (520 Clinton ave) churches have generously hosted the Occupy Sandy effort for almost a month now and we couldn’t be more grateful to both communities!
However, on Friday, November 30th, we will start to adjust our operations as we streamline our efforts and prepare for the long haul. Please see important announcements about these changes below.
DONATIONS: St. Jacobi church will stop accepting donated goods as of close of business Wednesday, November 28th and 520 Clinton will stop accepting donated goods on Friday, November 30th. In the interim period, please take all donated goods to Beach 100 and Rockaway Beach Blvd in the Rockaways, 2828 Neptune Ave in Coney Island or 1128 Olympia Blvd in Staten Island. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information about future distribution centers.
VOLUNTEERS & VEHICLES: St. Jacobi will need extra volunteers and vehicles to help clean up the church on Thursday, November 29th and Friday, November 30th and will no longer intake volunteers starting Saturday Dec 1st. 520 Clinton will continue to intake volunteers and dispatch vehicles until further notice.
THANK YOU to all of the members of the Jacobi church and the St. Luke and St. Matthews churches for welcoming us into their community and THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who helped make the both spaces run. We look forward to working with all of you as we continue to do all of the important work ahead of us.
November 28, 2012
1. Talk to your boss about a day off
Holiday time… Office parties and social parties and family parties and friend parties. Shopping and other holiday prep. Eating too much and being a glutton. Not much work is happening at the office. It’s the perfect time for you and your coworkers to take a day during the week to volunteer. The number of volunteers drops precipitously Monday through Thursday, and volunteers are still desperately needed to help with mold remediation, clean up, demolition/construction, distribution of heaters, and distribution of information on legal aid/small business resources.
It’s just one day. Maybe the boss will okay it. Maybe the boss will want to come, too! Bring your own lunch. Fan out in teams of 10 and head to Coney Island or the Rockaways or Staten Island or Sheepshead Bay. You’ll be so happy you did.
Saturday November 24, 2012
1. Get on your bike! (via Time’s Up)
If you’ve been to the Rockaways, you know that the fastest way to get around the traffic jams of cars, volunteers, relief trucks, aid stations, and clean up crews is on a bike. So if you have the bicycle and the legs, join the Time’s Up Fossil Fuel Disaster relief riders this Sunday. The details:
November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving is here and it’s amazing to me how hard people are working to make it a day of gratitude - and delicious turkey - for everyone in New York City.
This week I posted a list of Thanksgiving-related volunteer opportunities, but there’s still much to be done if you and your family want to spend some of the day helping other people.
1. Occupy Sandy needs drivers to run meals to distribution sites. They also need hotel pans, tents, and other supplies . Check out their site for more information.
2. An Occupy Sandy guy named Fab says he wants live music for a Thanksgiving block party he’s organizing today in Sheepshead Bay at the corner of Emmons and Brown. Due to the lack of power, you gotta be an acoustic act that can get loud, but Sheepshead Bay needs some love. If you want to play or help in the neighborhood, contact Fab at 575-779-5899
3. It them a long time (LONG time) but the Red Cross is here and doing their part. In some places they’re absent and in some places - like Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island - they’ve been the primary force serving hot meals. They’re hosting a three-day people-feeding event (which they call a “bulk distribution event” for that feedlot feel…) starting today; and they need volunteers. You can sign up here.
4. Today, Coney Recovers needs volunteers to help distribute Thanksgiving meals to thousands of residents. Please RSVP here to volunteer. (via Bill DiBlasio)
5. The Imperial Room (located Inwood, NY on the Queens/Long Island border) will be hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for their neighbors in the Rockaways. Volunteers are needed to help set-up and serve dinner. Please RSVP here to volunteer. (via Bill DiBlasio)
6. Post a message of support to first responders who helped people survive the storm. The Public Advocate’s office put together a site where you can post messages of support and gratitude. It’s very touching so only read all the messages if you want to get all verklempt. (If you have a heart of stone then this won’t be a problem.) Wouldn’t it be a lovely Thanksgiving day activity to sit with the kids and write a nice note to the total badasses who saved this city? Some suggestions… the National Guard, the volunteers who came ‘round with cupcakes, your neighbors who worked at the Park Slope Armory, the Occupy Sandy guy who put you in a car to the Rockaways, THE SANITATION DEPARTMENT WORKERS WHO ARE GETTING NO CREDIT BUT WHO HAVE BEEN THE MOST AMAZING PEOPLE EVER, Johnny Bravo for offering Red Bull and succor to the masses.
In an ideal world, Occupy Sandy’s relief effort would be so successful that there would be no need for Occupy Sandy.
This day, of course, still seems far away — one need look no further than Midland Beach, Staten Island to see that the place depends almost completely on grassroots volunteers and the Dept of Sanitation — it’s coming. You can hear it with every new radio address from Bloomberg. You can read it in the latest NYCHA press release. You can see it as people find permanent and semi-permanent places to live that have power and heat.
In the next few weeks there will be less and less room for the role that Occupy played so well: the massive distributor of goods and services that took the place of grocery stores, clinics, and shops.
Will Occupy be okay with that? For as horizontal in structure, as non-hierarchical as the group claims to be, it seems to feel that it owns this relief effort.
"I’ve yet to see these people doing anything productive with their time." says one Occupy organizer, gesturing to a National Guard truck. (The National Guard has been working 24 hours a day to remove pieces of boardwalk and toxic debris out of Bob’s yard, and has helped clean up tons of rubble in Staten Island, but no matter.)
"They shouldn’t be feeding the cops and the fire fighters," an Occupy organizer in Staten Island tells me, when I mention that the Hallowed Sons have been serving hot food to public workers. "They can take care of themselves. They have enough."
It’s intriguing, this sense of ownership… this sense that Occupy does it better… this sense that it’s alright to be completely disdainful of the efforts of the government, while espousing a philosophy of being sensitive to the needs of the residents in hard hit communities, many of whom are the very cops and firefighters Occupy might imply have just been wastes of space or who have enough. (“This is not charity, this is mutual aid and community building” is an oft heard phrase ‘round Occupy HQs in Brooklyn)…
An argument could be made that they indeed, already don’t own the recovery, that no one does. But what happens when it’s clear that what they do best — that massive distribution web — becomes less important? Would you want an Occupy Volunteer inspecting your house? An Occupy Volunteer doing your wiring? An Occupy Volunteer representing your legal rights as you work through the maze of FEMA/NYCHA/small business/insurance company paperwork?
What happens when people are finally given the services — with varying degrees of success — that only government can provide (heat, power, massive debris removal, building inspection, public transportation, safety in the streets)? What happens when people can go to stores? Make food at home? Do the laundry?
Occupy’s efforts have unquestionably been the driving force keeping people alive and safe after the storm. But I’m curious about what happens when other forces start to sustain New Yorkers. Will Occupy find a way to work with officials and big agencies as they step in? Will Occupy adapt to new roles? Recede into the background? Make snide remarks about how no one else does anything around here?
Will Occupy Sandy fight to own the recovery or find a way to be relevant?
1. The Thanksgiving fly around
So much to do before the holiday… buying food, booking tickets, renting cars, peeling all that damn squash. And sharing the holiday with your fellow New Yorkers. Here are a few opportunities that some of you may be able to work into this hectic week.
1. Fall food crawl (via Food to Eat)
FoodtoEat is hosting a Sandy benefit crawl today from 12-4pm to get people to restaurants that need your business. Tickets can be purchased online or at a Evelyn Drinkery: 171 Ave C.
Sales go to a donation pot that will be split between participating venues and used for their recovery efforts.
"Food Crawlers" receive a map of the participating venues after they buy a ticket, and from 3-4pm everyone meets at Kafana for an "after party" including entertainment and a raffle.
Buy your ticket online here.
November 16, 2012
1. Tell Bloomberg what’s what (via Occupy Sandy)
At Noon TODAY FRIDAY 11/16, in front of City Hall, nurses, doctors, EMTs, and other healthcare professionals will go to the mayor to demand more coordinated action to rebuild our city’s healthcare infrastructure and care for the thousands of people hurting after Hurricane Sandy.
Volunteers in the field urgently need supplies and greater help from the federal and city government. These life-saving volunteers have told us themselves that they can’t fill the place of a real community health network, and are asking us to help get clinics, pharmacies and hospitals re-opened. We’re taking a list of those medical needs to Mayor Bloomberg to ask for the City’s help.
Bob Hardt, NY1’s director of political news coverage, lives in the Rockaways in a large white house next to the washed away beach and the destroyed boardwalk. He spends his days watching the National Guard clear debris and the circus of cell phone charging stations and food trucks that have taken over Beach 94th.
Bob has a generator and his house is in tact, so his porch has become a meeting place where workers, stray officials, neighbors, and people who need a flushing toilet swap stories and potato chips and whatever other supplies have been trucked into the peninsula. It’s sorta like the stoop in that TV show 227, but with middle aged guys and a smart, funny woman named Diane.
“People don’t realize that this place is so big, as large as a small city in New England,” says Hardt. “If you had all of Hartford, CT without power, people would be freaking out. If you had significant portions of a small city living in housing projects with no way of getting outside, people would be outraged.
“A part of the problem is that people in New York don’t realize whats going on in their own backyard. The NYTimes is trying to tell people. NY1 is trying. Because, hey, do you really want to live in a city where someone freezes to death in their own home because we couldn’t take care of this situation?”
F*%k yes Bob Hardt.
I wondered about this yesterday as stories came in about lung killing mold and seniors with medical problems trapped in public housing projects. How long will it be before Sandy morphs from natural disaster into a public health crisis?
Now a volunteer with Occupy Sandy name Eric Moed, an architect who lives in Clinton Hill, has been tweeting at public officials about the terrible conditions in the Coney Island housing projects. He tells the Huffington Post:
The situation in public housing projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn remains a “humanitarian crisis” in which the government and the Red Cross have been nearly completely absent… Moed says all of the supermarkets on Coney Island have been flooded or looted.
Time magazine has a piece on how Hurricane Sandy fundamentally changed the relationship between Occupy Wall Street and New York City government, thanks to the fact that Bloomberg et al have relied so heavily on OWS offshoot Occupy Sandy to keep citizens alive in the weeks after the storm.
It’s a great story that lays out why the City needs Occupy. But what it doesn’t touch on much is the fact that Occupy in many ways needs the city, too; and that some of the best moments in the relief effort have come when the city has provided resources that the grassroots movement will never have. Sometimes this came in the form of giving Occupy Sandy resources to push out through its massive grassroots distribution network; and sometimes it came in the form of police officers and the National Guard providing security at sites where the group had set up donation centers.
If this truce only lasts as long as the hurricane clean up effort, then not only will NYC government continue to have a gaping hole in its emergency response plan, Occupy will have missed an opportunity to influence, in a more permanent way, how the city treats citizens. Certainly Occupy has shown that there’s a faster, more humane way to help people in need. The group can continue to push that agenda as a band of outsiders, but a seat at the table can be a very powerful thing.