As it’s now Friday, many of us are returning to some normalcy in our lives after Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, many others will continue to feel the effects of the storm. We had lost electricity and suffered many downed trees in the area during the high winds, but that was nothing compared to too many people.
Luckily, none of my family’s homes were flooded or struck by downed trees, even my parents down at the shore escaped with only a loss of electricity for a week. Compared to those who’ve literally lost everything that they own, including their homes, and in some cases pets or loved ones, it’s really nothing at all.
We hope that all of our clients, both past and present, in New York and New Jersey, managed to survive the storm with a minimum of disruption and suffering, but we know that more likely some of you have gone through a hellish week. We’ve been very concerned about so many people all over the region. Our hearts are with you! Stay strong and we will all recover together!
Assisting with the clean up, we learned firsthand how grateful each and every one of us should be that our lives are usually so good and generally ‘uneventful’, that we have heat and hot water and lights and computers, all without a second thought given to any of it. We met people who had lost everything, but were still not giving up. One spray-painted sign read, “You can take our homes but not our hearts.”
The hurricane has brought us all together, in a way that is reminiscent of the days after 911, but also different. It’s the same, in that everyone knew someone affects by the tragedy, just like it’s hard to escape people in NYC or New Jersey who were not directly hit or had family or friends who had been. And just like in the weeks and months following 911, we saw how strong our concern was for one another.
The two events were different because 911 was an act of terror, and there was an a response of justifiable anger, but Hurricane Sandy was an act of Nature, and there is really no one to be angry with. People were left shocked and dumbfounded, not realizing that while widespread blackouts, flooding, gas shortages, and storm surges were always an unlikely, possibility, it all could happen one day . And when it did, it left us reeling, feeling utterly helpless.
There is a lot that can still be done to help. Volunteers are needed for clean up. Strong and able- bodied men and women can help with debris removal. Even if you’re wheelchair-bound, you can still help with distributing food and clothing. If everyone pitches in, even just a little, this will be a little more bearable for everyone, especially those most affected.
If you have been lucky enough to avoid the brunt of the storm’s damage and have an unrented apartment in your house or a spare bedroom in your own home, consider letting a displaced family stay with your family. There are elderly people who need temporary housing.
Those who’ve seen their kids off to college and beyond who still live in a house designed for a large family can put their spare rooms to use once again. Although there are shelters, staying with a family kind enough to share their extra space for a few days or weeks is certainly a better alternative in every instance.
If you are blessed with funds that could be used for donation to storm-related charities, that’s also a great way to help your stricken neighbors. There’s a lot we can do to help, whether it’s donating our time and arms to carry, or donating goods and services, or sending funds to relief agencies. A good amount of clean up effort is being organized on-the-fly, so if you have gas to travel to an affected area, just get out of your car and ask if anyone needs a hand. You won’t be turned down.
PS. If you’d like to leave a comment with a link to information about how to help, you are more than welcome to do so!
© H Miller 2012