Helping One Another in Times of Need

They’ve come from Baltimore, New Orleans, Silver Spring, Md. and Israel, to name a few – all to assist with the clean-up efforts from Hurricane Sandy in the greater New York/New Jersey area. The power of “the collective” working at its best.

Over the past month, many organizations have provided supplies, financial backing and volunteers. Following is our second list of the efforts of many organizations, and individuals, helping life return to normal as quickly as possible. Our previous list can be found here. [Please note, these are partial lists and does not take away from the many additional organizations that have been providing needed assistance.]

Bend the Arc (formerly Jewish Funds for Justice)

  • 894 individuals have benefited from donations raised through Bend the Arc and Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s joint initiative.
  • Family Success Centers have bought and passed out 233 gift cards for food purchases, water, diapers, etc. In addition to the gift cards, water, food, diapers and clothing have been purchased and distributed at 12 locations around the city of Newark.
  • $10,000 was also allocated for the funerals of two young women who passed away tragically due to carbon monoxide poisoning – they had lost power and were using a generator.

Some inspiring stories from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

  • Rutgers Hillel last-minute dinner
    During Sandy, most of the university was blacked out – classes were cancelled and many students left town. Rutgers Hillel opened its doors to more than 150 students the day after the storm, providing food, heat and working water.
  • Hillel at Baruch College organizes response
    Students fanned out in spontaneously organized groups to check on families, friends, even strangers, throughout New York City. Three days after the storm, they were volunteering at the Warbasse and Trump Buildings and at Mazel Day School.
  • Hillel at Hunter College helps with cleanup
    Students are collaborating with the Hebrew Free Burial Society to help with downed trees and other cleanup on Staten Island.
  • Pace University Hillel students volunteer
    Students volunteered at the Bowery Mission on November 5, sorting donations to be dispersed. Pace students will also be teaming up with Hillel of New York University to hold a large volunteer event knitting blankets to donate.
  • Hillel at Queens College and OU Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC):
    Queens College Hillel extended its hours so students could have a well-lit, warm, and dry place to hang out with friends, study, or just connect with each other for a while. Students also mobilized by welcoming other students into their homes for Shabbat meals. Many students are dedicating hours of their time to the shelter that has become home to 500 families housed in Queens College’s campus gym.

Schools and Congregations (courtesy Jewish Education Project)

  • Etz Chaim of Flatbush, Brooklyn generously rushed to the aid of the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor, Queens giving them a space to resume classes after the storm destroyed their school building. Parents and teachers of the Belle Harbor community were devastated after the destruction and immediately galvanized efforts to stay together during this difficult time. We admire both schools for their strength and quick action.
  • Congregation Sons of Israel, Woodmere, Long Island provided a shelter for congregants with home damage, as well as food, clothing, and electricity. They held a special PJ Library program for a large crowd of preschoolers and their families to provide some enjoyable activities among the chaos.
  • Temple Beth El, Great Neck created Sandy-Palooza, an ongoing synagogue effort to provide events and meals for congregants to come and spend time together during this difficult time. The synagogue made calls to community members in need assuring them assistance was nearby. They collected numerous donations and sent them to the very badly damaged community in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
  • Dix Hills Jewish Center, Temple Beth Torah of Melville and South Huntington Jewish Center all of Long Island joined forces to collect more than 10 truck loads of much needed food, diapers, blankets, and other necessities to badly hit communities in Brooklyn. They also collected clothing and games to support those who lost their homes in the Queens fires.
  • Community Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale opened their space to SAR Academy’s Early Learning Center when their power was down. They also helped to provide shelter for other groups and elderly adults that lost power. Their Sunday and Religious Schools continue to be a large collection site for items such as food, blankets and flashlights, they are donating them to Lower East Side relief efforts and beyond.

Under the guidance of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, undergraduate students at YU’s Yeshiva College ad Stern College for Women mobilized fellow students, alumni, faculty and staff to respond to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The efforts include:

  • Partnered with Occupy Sandy at St. Jacobi Church (11/1) and Masbia Soup Kitchen (11/11) – 35 Volunteers – Helped package food that was being distributed to victims in Red Hook, Rockaway and other communities throughout New York.
  • Bought and distributed supplies to the needy and elderly on the Lower East Side (11/1) – 75 Volunteers – Organized a team of students who went to the Lower East Side to buildings without power (and, therefore, no elevator service) where they climbed the stairs to reach those in need of emotional support and supplies (flashlights, food, etc.).
  • Partnered with Achiezer (11/4) and NECHAMA (11/9) to assist with relief efforts (11/4) – 15 Volunteers – Assisted in the removal of debris and ruined items from homes in Far Rockaway and Bayswater, NY and Hoboken, NJ.
  • Volunteered throughout New York City (11/4) – 100 volunteers – Volunteered all over New York City helping sort and distribute donated goods, package food bags in a soup kitchen, and clean up Riverside Park.
  • Volunteered in Local Shelter (11/8) – 18 Volunteers – YU Presidential Fellows volunteered in a local emergency shelter, assisting with social service inquiries and playing with the children there.
  • Assisted in Seagate Relief Efforts (Began on 11/9; Ongoing Effort) – 100 Volunteers – The effort began on November 9 with a delegation of Yeshiva College students who traveled to Seagate to assist in relief efforts throughout the Jewish community. After seeing the destruction in Seagate firsthand, a collaborative effort with Mount Sinai Congregation of Washington Heights was arranged on November 11 to assist in the clean up efforts. Since then, several classes from the YU’s Bet Medrash continue to travel to Seagate with their Roshei Yeshiva to help in relief efforts.
  • Volunteering in local emergency shelter (Began on 11/10; Ongoing Effort) – YU student coordinate the volunteer shifts and efforts in the shelter (near YU’s Wilf Campus), and continue to recruit volunteers through a Facebook page designated for the shelter (there are over 350 members in the Facebook group).
  • Supplies Drives (11/11) – Student leaders on YU’s Wilf and Beren campuses organized a supplies and clothing drive; the items were donated to Met Council and B’nai Jeshurun.