The group at Veggie Island launched one of the most important grassroots relief efforts in the hours after the storm, owing in large part to the fact that the owners knew the Rockaways well and already had ties to the community. It looks like the Veggie Island crew has decided officially organize under the name Smallwater. From the group’s site:
"Smallwater is a grassroots disaster relief initiative based in the Rockaways at Beach 96th Street. Formed out of necessity in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the initiative is led by a core group of Rockaway residents who are deeply invested in rebuilding a sustainable Rockaway community. What started simply as a donation drop-off center at Veggie Island has evolved into a larger, long-term initiative of community rebuilding. Smallwater’s intimate knowledge of the peninsula, its people and its needs allow Smallwater to play the vital lead role of coordinating peninsula-wide volunteer efforts as well as act as a central information, donation collection and distribution center."
I’ll be interested to see if the group maintains independence. Most of the smaller grassroots orgs are being absorbed by Occupy Sandy, since Occupy has a massive distribution web and, frankly, an amazing branding machine with great name recognition. While most of the smaller organizations are advantaged in terms of local knowledge and actual ties to devastated communities, Occupy has the resources.
The group now known as Smallwater has a really thorough and constantly updated donation needs list here. They’ve been really organized and are known well among residents, so I’d definitely recommend volunteering with them.
Smallwater contact info is here:
Extraordinary story from the NYTimes about how inmates pitched in to help after the hurricane. Many of the prisoners and the guards have ties to the Rockaways, and their efforts were really amazing.
"Inmates did 6,600 pounds of laundry for people in emergency shelters. The jail supplied generators and gas to fuel them to neighborhoods in the dark, and donated long underwear usually given to inmates. And officers with medical training provided emergency care to victims.
Ms. Schriro, a Staten Island native who lives on City Island in the Bronx, and her deputies started strategizing how they would tap Rikers’s enormous resources even as the storm was still raging. Ms. Schriro had already reminded the Bloomberg administration of all that Rikers had to offer should the storm prove to be as catastrophic as predicted.
"But Ms. Schriro felt a greater sense of urgency after seeing firsthand what the storm had done to the Rockaways, a place that is home to some of the jail’s inmates as well as to some of the guards who watch over them. She mobilized a group of correction officers to deliver truckloads of canned and dried goods from the island’s food supply and to use emergency relief supplies from the jail’s warehouses, including bottled water and blankets. The agency also delivered clothing to relief centers in the city, including jackets kept for inmates.
"Officers took generators and backup lights from various jails to Breezy Point, Queens, and other locations. Correction Department buses and vans transported evacuees on Staten Island and shuttled recovery workers in Brooklyn."
Eric, a comms director at TimeWarner Cable, asked me to post a little something about the company’s efforts to help out the folks in hard hit areas like Staten Island and the Rockaways. Good stuff. Follow @TWCable_NYC on Twitter right now!!
Here’s what Eric had to say:
To help NYC’s recovery efforts, Time Warner Cable has mobile device charging & WiFi stations, as well as food trucks serving free warm food, to affected residents and volunteers.
As most of these people are without power, but are utilizing Twitter to look for recovery updated & places for help and food, etc, we are relying on this social media platform to provide locations & updates of our charging stations & food trucks. Our Twitter handle (@TWCable_NYC) is providing real-time updates on locations for these stations & food trucks.
Guess who’s headed to Staten Island?
Good guy Louis C.K. will headline twoHurricane Sandy benefits on Staten Island this month. The comedian hosted Saturday Night Live last week, and prior to taping the showsent out an email from backstage: “Here we are in the middle of New York City, which was just slammed by a hurricane, leaving behind so much trouble, so much difficulty and trauma, which everyone here is still dealing with every day, I know people in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey, all over, are not normal yet. And not normal is hard.”