Hurricane Sandy Relief: How to Help

In the aftermath of last week’s devastating hurricane that ravaged much of the East Coast, Reform Jews across the country – and even across the world – want to know how they can help those most affected by the storm. We’ve compiled a by-no-means-comprehensive list of resources to help you determine the most meaningful way to help.

Make a Donation
For starters, the URJ has already reached out to impacted communities to offer food, supplies, space, and more and has established the URJ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which will provide direct funding to:

  1. Congregants who are suffering short- or long-term loss of food, shelter or clothing;
  2. General and Jewish relief agencies in coordination with the Jewish Federations, Nechama – the Jewish Response to Disaster, and others; and
  3. Reform congregations damaged by the storm to help them resume operations as quickly as possible.

Of course, there are a number of other ways to support and assist those affected by the storm.

Blood Drives
The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations to affect the needs of those impacted by the storm. No matter where you are located, your donations will save lives. Find a donation opportunity in your area. The Red Cross is also looking for volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunities
If you are in the area impacted by the storm and want to volunteer, please visit the following websites to find opportunities:

  • Repair the World: This Jewish organization seeks to inspire Jews of all backgrounds to dedicate time and effort to the causes they’re passionate about. Find both Jewish and secular opportunities to donate and volunteer.
  • Food Bank for NYC: Donate to the food bank’s emergency fund to help New Yorkers in need after the storm, or volunteer with the food bank’s response team.
  • NYC Service: As communities assess their needs and begin to rebuild, more volunteer opportunities will be added. Check back for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
  • New York Cares: Hurricane Sandy response projects, including cleanup and distribution efforts, are being posted on a rolling basis.

An important note before you give: If you are planning to donate to a nonprofit in the wake of any disaster, you should first verify that it is legitimate. Charity evaluators like Guidestar and Charity Navigator, as well as FEMA, can help you determine whether the organization to which you’re donating has a good track record and if funds will go where you intend.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of ways to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you know of other opportunities to donate or volunteer, please leave a comment below to share with those seeking ways to help.