Want to help out with Hurricane Sandy? Here’s what’s needed.

For the last week, I’ve been working with an organization called Sandy Help, which was created by Moshe Frank in order to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy around New York City.  We’ve been able to, thank G-d, help thousands of people in the last few days, and have made some real progress in certain areas.  The outpouring of support and help from the community has truly been astounding.

However, as time has gone on, there have been some communication issues.  People have been donating things, for example, that are no longer needed and helping in ways that are counterproductive.  This is an issue effecting all organizations, especially large ones like the Red Cross, who have been having trouble communicating specific needs.

So here’s an update on what specifically is necessary for our, and other organizations’, efforts:

What IS needed:

1.  Manpower.  This is the top priority.  While there was a surge of volunteers on Sunday because it was a weekend, the number has drastically diminished for all organizations recently.  We are experiencing a severe shortage of people on the ground, so the more people willing to help, the more good can be done.

2.  Gas heaters, generators, and D batteries.  All of these are essential right now.  Temperatures are dropping, and many people have been left without heat and power, making for a dangerous situation.  Anyone that has access to these items would be helping enormously.

3.  Hot meals.  People have been left without power and gas in many areas, and thus are unable to cook the food provided for them.  Hot meals, or meals that are self-heating, are the best food donations anyone can provide.

4.  Toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, shampoo and other toiletries.

5.  Warm clothes.  Gloves, jackets, scarves, and other items to help keep people warm are the only kind of clothes necessary.

What’s NOT needed:

1.  Clothing.  We have been receiving numerous complaints that people have been donating these in overabundance.  Most of the people right now are not in the stage where they need these things urgently.  They are focused on other concerns.

2.  Random food items.  While people do need hot meals, they don’t need food ingredients, especially perishable items.

Here are a few other helpful resources:

Occupy Sandy updates

An interactive map of areas in need

The Sandy Help website

Thank you to all the volunteers and everyone else that has been helping out.

About the Author
Elad Nehorai is a writer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He's the creator of Hevria, a community for creative Jews. He also is the writer behind Pop Chassid. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and more.