(Photo from today’s office hours)
MANY THANKS to all the individuals who dropped off food, canvassed, brought supplies and worked with us all day to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Over 500 residents from Chinatown and the Lower East Side came to our office to get their phones charged, to get food and supplies, and most importantly to get INFORMATION.
This is the state of where things are at:
1) We have not scratched the surface of people’s needs. Today outreach volunteers reported back to us that folks in public housing had no water and no electricity. The ones who could do it were filling up water from a broken hydrant and walking it up over 10 flights of stairs. Hundreds of tenants were able to get some donations, but they were going out the door as fast as they were coming in. We will not be able to sustain this level of need.
2) Everyone is coming to us in the community. We had folks from the City-run evacuation center at Seward Park come to us asking for supplies. The 7th precinct had our sign on their front door and their front desk were directing people to us. At the same time other officers from the 7th precinct TRIED TO SHUT US DOWN.
3) Where is the leadership of this City? Where is FEMA? We were told on Wall Street the lights are on in all the buildings, and Christmas lights are on in the streets. It was clear where the priority is when the community next door has not been prioritized. Today was another day where there was no information given out and City officials were nowhere to be seen.
This is what we need immediately:
1) Donations. Specifically– food, water, flashlights, batteries (AA, AAA, D). We could use another generator and power outlets for people to charge things.
2) Volunteers. To help with outreach, distribution of supplies, and organizing/moving people. We anticipate more than double the amount of people to come through tomorrow. We’re also getting specific requests to check up on seniors and would like to be able to do that if possible. (Note: If you plan on coming through you will not have much ability to use your cellphone. Maybe texts, but not much else.)
3) Take action. Demand that the leaders of this City take responsibility for Chinatown/Lower East Side and other still impacted communities. Stop putting people over profits. The people of our communities deserve just as much attention as Wall Street and Times Square.
And of course, we can always use financial donations. Just today alone, CAAAV staff and volunteers used hundreds of dollars of our own money to buy flashlights and batteries. Please consider making a donation at http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1838&amount=&designategift2=.
If you have any questions or want to support, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are trying to get back to people as soon as we can, but we’re most likely able to respond after 8pm when we can get to a place with cell service. The best thing you can do is just come down and bring stuff/people with you.