Hurricane Sandy may have accomplished a long-term goal of Occupy’s when it shut down Wall Street, but that doesn’t make the two entities allies. In fact, Occupy Wall Street has launched an offshoot movement, Occupy Sandy, which may be the organization most successfully providing relief to those who face devastation in New York City.
With people in need now, members of Occupy are not content to wait (and wait and wait) for FEMA and the related bureaucracy to provide all necessary aid. Occupy volunteers are coming together to provide food, water, shelter and sources of electricity to those who the storm affected the most.
Occupiers assemble vital supplies at St. Jacobi Church
In a sense, Occupy Wall Street is an ideal group to tackle these problems. Given all of its experience in community organizing, providing food to the masses and weathering subpar conditions, the challenges Hurricane Sandy has presented are hardly out of Occupy’s wheelhouse.
Most of the organizational aspects are coordinated through the website http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/ or https://recovers.org/ which matches eager volunteers with specific helpful tasks. Catherine McBride, a volunteer with Occupy Sandy, told the Huffington Post, “I think the key is connecting people to a tangible thing, because everyone wants to help out. Just telling people to go and do this, and then they’ll do it.”
Occupy Sandy is particularly interested in looking after the needs of the city’s elderly and disabled. Many have been trapped in their homes due to non-functioning elevators and a lack of electricity, so volunteers are regularly checking in on these people to ensure they have necessary resources to survive until things are back in order.
Occupy organizes assistance in Far Rockaway Queens
People in the community are thankful for the organized assistance, complaining that FEMA, the police and the Red Cross are not adequately addressing the people’s needs, if at all. Bob Hardt of the NY1 Blog writes, “There continues to be mounting frustration from other residents here. The Red Cross is quickly becoming the villain because it has been invisible. It’s a bad sign for the world that Occupy Wall Street and a Sikh group from Queens are doing a better job at distributing hot food than the largest international relief group in the world.”
Although Occupy Sandy’s mission is not explicitly political, it does model the kind of world that Occupiers yearn to see, one in which people care about the basic needs of fellow people. As relief efforts began on Tuesday, Occupy tweeted a thought-provoking message:
Those who want updates on how they can assist the Occupy Sandy efforts can text @occupysandy to 23559.