8 Ways to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims Beyond Donating to the Red Cross

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National guardsman greets a tyke after Hurricane SandyIf you watched the Hurricane Sandy relief telethon and texted $10 to the Red Cross when Bruce rocked or Christina crooned, then you are certainly not alone. The telethon raised $23 million dollars for Sandy's victims. But some of you may be wondering how you can do more. And you may want to know that your money is really going to the victims. I've been following the storm's aftermath very intensely, as many of the areas right around me are devastated.

I've been keeping track of the groups that are on the ground and the ones that are MIA. I've been asking people who they saw when they came out of their storm-ripped home looking for help. Most of the time, the answer I got was not FEMA or the Red Cross. If you still want to help, here are 8 ways you can help beyond donating to the Red Cross.

Donate to:

AmeriCares. AmeriCares has been delivering flashlights, bottled water, first aid kits, and medical help to those who need it in both states. A day after I delivered 20 flashlights to flooded and still-powerless Red Hook, Brooklyn, AmeriCares swooped in with thousands of them.

Occupy Sandy. An offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, this is one of the first groups I heard about who went directly into hard-hit neighborhoods and began coordinating food, clothing, and supplies drives, going door to door, and checking on elderly people in cold, darkened buildings. They seem to do it all -- a friend of mine who became stranded after a mercy mission when his car battery died even had an Occupier drive him home.

Gray Beards. I've heard many reports from locals that Gray Beards is on the ground in some of the worst hit areas of New York, including the leveled Breezy Point, a working class neighborhood of many firemen and policemen, where 100 homes burned to the ground.

ASPCA. The ASPCA is helping rescue stranded pets as well as giving pet food to those in need. They were the first group I saw with a dedicated emergency pet rescue hotline and they have been going door to door looking for abandoned animals.

Sean Casey Animal Rescue. This group has been taking in a lot of rescued and abandoned pets, especially dogs, from the shore areas of Brooklyn, which were hit particularly hard. But they also have taken in turtles, birds, cats and snakes.

Alley Cat Allies. This group has been all over New York and New Jersey feeding the feral cats who were left behind after the storm, including the famous outdoor cats of the Atlantic City boardwalk, most of whom miraculously survived the 'cane.

Find out what is really needed. Most groups are too busy right now to update their websites. Check their Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter. You'll be able to find out exactly what they need through those channels. If you'd rather donate supplies than money, check their Facebook walls for an Amazon gift registry. When in doubt, call the group and ask what they need. Some things that are always needed: Bottled water, toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand wipes), WARM clothes like coats and gloves, waterproof boots, flashlights, C and D batteries, and cleaning supplies.

Be proactive. Call your local church or school -- most are holding Sandy donation drives. If your church is collecting lots of non-perishable food, you might suggest collecting batteries and Clorox too. And remember, it pays to do a little research on a group before writing out a check. Be wary of donating to sob stories you see on ChipIn and Facebook without verifying that they're true.

Have you donated to Sandy relief efforts?


Image via DVIDSHUB/Flickr

in the news, natural disasters

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Anna Potts

im sorry to be this person but why are we spending money to help animals people need it

nonmember avatar Marla Singer

Classy, Anna. Very classy. Someone chooses to donate their own time and money, and because you think it could be better spent, you critisize them. At least they are helping. At least they are actually doing something.

A lot of people lost pretty much everything they own. If they managed to save their pets, they probably could use some help with animal care. We should try to help them with that, especially if it is all they have left.

All of the groups mentioned in the article are animal advocacy groups. Of course they're going to help animals. That is precisely what they do!! Animals are often the most helpless and the first to be put aside. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to take care of them.

Also, believe it or not, all animals play an important role in our Eco system. If rats do become a problem as the news has reported worries of, those alley cats are going to come in handy. If they ignore all of the animals, that just leaves them to get sick and/or die. Yes, diseased animals and rotting animal carcasses will totally help the situation. Oh, no, that won't attract insects and more wild animals or anything.

You may believe that humans are more important, but someone has to deal with the animals, if even just for practical reasons.

Jan Clapperton Allen

I saw news clips with Sandy survivors in boats with their dogs. The pets have to be fed, too, and a lot of people, including myself, consider my pets as family.

Robert Whittle

red cross takes money for disasters and then uses it elsewhere. we need a better charity for things like this.

Carla Bulotti Newbre

Here's another place to contribute:

https://www.wepay.com/donations/rainbow-rapid-response

It is not tax-deductible because the people doing it are not part of a 501(3)c. However, Rainbow Rapid Response has done amazing work for Katrina relief, and is currently on the ground in New Jersey. Other sites will be established as kitchen crews arrive. Here is where you can go to get updates from the folks there and supporting it around the country.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSuperSandyResponse/

Bill Vanderbilt

There may be another way to help victims of Storm Sandy.. I have an advocacy group for mold victims on Facebook. As time goes on we are sure that many of the Sandy victims will be experiencing symptoms from exposure to toxic mold just like the ones we all suffer from.. I am compiling a list of some of these symptoms from Sandy Victims so we can compare them to our symptoms.. The purpose of this project is to show the medical community and the various government agencies that mold illness is real and that many people are suffering from it and not being diagnosed.. Anyone interested in sharing information about what you are experiencing is welcome to come and visit my group page.. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/moldrights/

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