Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane tragedy pulls focus

Hurricane Sandy and the devastation it has wrought on New York and surrounding areas has left me mentally and emotionally paralyzed this week.  I haven't been able to focus on any work outside of listening to the news and trying to figure out ways to help.  I postponed a class I was teaching, I haven't worked on my play or my acting class scene, I haven't posted on here.  While certainly all of this trauma and all of the horrible and beautiful things I have scene are good potential creativity fodder, my heart isn't in it -- it is solidly lodged up in my throat and I imagine will stay there for some time.

On Friday morning, I delivered three bags of groceries to someone who was delivering donations out to the Rockaways in Queens -- one of the most devastated areas from the storm (if you saw the pictures of Queens on fire, that was the Rockaways).  On Friday afternoon, between students, I rode my bike down to the Lower East Side of Manhattan (the only way to get there with the power still out in Lower Manhattan) with all the batteries, flashlights and non-perishable food I could fit in my backpack and dropped it off to people who were delivering it to those stranded in buildings with no power or water.  I wanted to stay and help, but had to get back to teach.  But on Saturday, I was able to help -- I rode my bike down again (at only 48 degrees out, it was a chilly ride) and spent the afternoon hiking up to the top floors of two 37 story buildings that still don't have power (even though most of Manhattan is back up).  I met disabled people and seniors who can't possibly get down the stairs (let alone back up again), whose supplies are dwindling and who must spend 12+ hours alone in complete darkness and silence every night.  The cold and the dark were their biggest fears, more than food or water.  Volunteers like us could bring them food and water, but we couldn't bring them heat or light.

I wanted to go out to the Rockaways myself today, but have to teach a class this afternoon.  I am filled with guilt and despair -- temperatures are dropping to freezing now at night and it may be weeks before some of these people have power.  I am hoping to clear one of my teaching days midweek to go out there -- I imagine there will be fewer people who can make it out during the week.

Please, wherever you are, if you are reading this, donate whatever you can whether it be time, money or goods to help these relief efforts.   For a comprehensive list of places to donate/volunteer, please visit the Occupy Sandy relief page.  You can even mail supplies in if you'd rather mail stuff than money! (while the Red Cross doesn't take donations of supplies, other groups do).

Want to mail in supplies?

Send it here ...
The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew
520 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Needs List (not clothing at this point):
- blankets
- batteries (Cs and Ds)
- flashlights
- candles and matches
- non-perishable food
- bottled water
- diapers

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