Hurricane Sandy has devastated countless lives and communities in the Northeast. The damage is said to have launched the largest relief effort in the U.S. since Katrina.
Over the last few weeks, people have donated money and volunteered their time, but there have been a number of other creative ways people are doing their part.
Check out the list below and share any inspiring stories you have come across in the comments.
A friend of mine’s parents went out to Long Beach last weekend to help with the clean-up and rebuilding efforts in the area. They rented a u-haul, stocked it full of supplies – work gloves, heavy duty garbage bags, socks, underwear, nonperishable food items, diapers for babies and adults, formula, band aids, antibiotic ointment, bleach, flashlights, batteries, Advil, etc. – and drove it down themselves.
People were extremely grateful for the supplies, but were also thankful for a friendly smile and hug!
“Something I found very heartwarming was as we were driving down the main streets was that there were grills going and hot coffee free for anyone. People were holding signs saying ‘free food, coffee, or STOP FOR JUST A HUG!’ The cars in front of me all stopped, rolled down their windows and got a much needed hug.”
2. Restore the Shore
Derek Koch is a 19-year-old art manager at Rowan University. On Halloween night, he created a graphic he hoped to put on some t-shirts to sell to fellow classmates to raise money for the relief effort.
The graphic shows a silhouette of New Jersey and a silhouette of the destroyed rollercoaster on Seaside Heights with the words “Restore the Shore.” He posted the graphic on Facebook and it instantly went viral, reaching more than 400,000 people.
Koch knew he could use the popular design to sell t-shirts and raise money, so he contacted ERGO clothing, a company where he interned over the summer, to see if they were willing to help. The company has taken orders for more than 10,000 “Restore the Shore” t-shirts, raising more than $300,000 so far.
“Restore the Shore” is now “Restore the Shore Project.” Check out their video campaign:
3. Library on the Go
What can you do when there is no power?
Read a good book!
Following Hurricane Sandy, the Queens Library sent a mobile book bus with a team of librarians that not only lent out books, but also provided information to visitors about FEMA applications, where aid centers are set up, and locations for the Red Cross and Doctor Without Borders.
The mobile book bus even set up outdoor storytime for kids in the area.
“It’s strange to tell stories in the open air, with children sitting on mattresses in the dirt, while their parents scramble for food and blankets around you—and incredibly inspiring. It was a moment of normalcy, of comfort, of safety.”
4. Social Donating
An iPhone app released early this month called Budge allows users to donate to causes like Hurricane Sandy in a fun new way – playing games.
Users can challenge friends to a number of games like chess or charades and the loser is required to make a small donation to a charity. The app currently supports 11 charities, including the American Sustainable Business Council which has setup a relief fund for businesses affected by Sandy.
The app is free and available in the U.S. and Australia.
5. Adopt a Virtual Pet
Another fun way to donate to the Hurricane Sandy relief is by adopting a virtual pet.
World of Warcraft is donating 100% of the proceeds from its next in-game pet, Cinder Kitten, out later this year to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Cinder Kitten will be available for virtual adoption for $10 in the World of Warcraft pet store.
6. Reuniting Pets
People weren’t the only ones displaced by the hurricane. Hundreds of pets were also separated from their owners.
A Facebook group – Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets – is doing its part to help reunite pets with their families. The group posts photos of lost or found pets in the areas affected by Sandy in an effort to help owners find their missing pets.
The Facebook group also posts information about animal shelters in need and those that are allowing animals.
7. Book a Trip
Booking a trip for the holidays?
A number of hotels are offering special discounts, free rooms and a percentage of bookings to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
You can also creatively donate to the Sandy with select airlines like American, Continental, Delta, United, and US Airways.
For a list of participating hotels and airlines visit boston.com.
8. NYC Santa Dash
Don’t be alarmed if you see a sea of Santas running across New York City on December 2nd.
It’s the NYC Santa Dash, a 6.5 mile race from Columbia University to Union Square organized by New York University. To get in the holiday spirit, runners are encouraged to wear a Santa costume or holiday-themed clothing.
Entry for the race is only $10 and will be used to raise money for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s Hurricane Relief program.
For details about the race and to sign up, visit indiegogo.com.
9. Sing, Sing a Song
What do Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, and Billy Joel have in common?
They are teaming together with four other A-list artists for the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Springsteen, McCartney, Jovi, and Joel will be joined by Alicia Keys, Roger Waters, Kanye West, and The Who for this one night online live music event. Proceeds from the concert will go directly to the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
10. Blood Drive
After Hurricane Sandy, the New York Blood Center, which serves more than 20 million New Yorkers, is suffering a blood shortage. The blood supply at the center has dropped 6,000 units since the Hurricane hit.
The New York City martial arts community is calling on New Yorkers to donate blood on December 27, 2012 from 3 – 9 pm. According to a release sent out by Stephen Koepfer of New York Combat Sambo, “We martial artists and fighters spend enough time shedding blood (all in good fun!); now let’s donate some for the good of our city!”
For more information about the blood drive, visit the New York City New York Blood Center.
Photo by DVIDSHUB used with a Creative Commons license.