Big-profile relief and support efforts like the superstar-filled televised benefit concert (something done to help the unfortunate, which everyone seems to appreciate except the idiots at Fox News) for people affected by Sandy get attention and inspire us to donate to our friends and neighbors in storm-wracked areas.
Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker was out in the thick of things helping his neighbors (notably responding to a tip from a constituent and rescuing 21 homeless men and women from under a bridge before the storm hit) and offering them shelter in his home (he also offered free DVD movies and food).
Mayor Booker also Tweeted: “Police have reported ZERO looting or crimes of opportunity in Newark. And ceaseless reports of acts of kindness abound everywhere. #Gratitude.”
Alec Baldwin and his wife have set out bags of free food and have been out and about offering to help however they can, and Ben Stiller was spotted serving pancakes (we won’t mention how Donald Trump persisted in his contemptible harassment campaign against President Obama but otherwise appears not to have done anything constructive to help anyone, or how Mitt Romney staged a donation drive photo-op–while ignoring Red Cross instructions not to gather cans or supplies but to donate blood or money–and pretended he wasn’t holding a campaign rally in Ohio, then sent those donations only to swing states).
Some other businesses, big and small, and ordinary folks like you and me have also been moved to help. Cooper Fleishman and Greg Seals from Hypervocal, Greg Morabito at Eater NY, Danika Fears for TODAY, Stephanie Haberman at Mashable, Madison Gray for TIME, Susanna Kim for ABC News, Sarah Medina at Huffington Post, and a Facebook page dedicated to sharing Hurricane Sandy Acts of Kindness have gathered heart-warming and inspiring examples of neighborliness; here are some highlights:
Many neighbors with electricity have set out powerstrips outside and made them available to anyone in need.
White Pine Lane resident Candy Newton provided hot coffee to the Met ED crews who have been working around the clock to restore power to local residents.
New York restaurant owner Edward Youkilis cooked up all his food and donated it.
A TODAY producer shared:
A woman stationed in Arizona couldn’t reach her mother, who lives alone. She posted a Facebook request asking high school alumni living near her mom to check in with her if they could. A man she barely knew in high school, who is now a firefighter, saw the post and rang her mom’s doorbell. Back on Facebook, he let the woman know he had found her mom, safe and sound.
Leona Maszgay shared a story of her 5-year-old’s efforts on Facebook: “My daughter came home from school today and went through our pantry and said, ‘Mommy people need our food. I’ll carry it in my backpack on the bus to donate to those in need.'”
Teresa Howard in Hoboken emailed her community to propose a “recharger morning.” She and her neighbors set out coffee and powerstrips to help.
Muheisen’s Bagel & Deli were giving away grilled burgers and drinks in Washington, New Jersey.
Dr. Dave Ores in the East Village is offering free medical care. He posted on his Tumblr: “I’m open today if I can help anyone. Until 6 pm. Spread the word. Thanks. 189 east 2nd street btw A and B.” He also made 80 sandwiches and handed them out on the street, and plans to do it again.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was out comforting and hugging people waiting in line for FEMA meals to arrive.
User “kage” at MMO-champion.com reports:
This Hurricane has reinforced my faith in basic human goodness. The radio stations are helping people find necessities. Neighbors are pooling supplies. Businesses are offering free charging stations. The politicians would be singing kumbaya and holding hands if they weren’t so busy accomplishing things. My father works at a call center and and tonight workers and their families being allowed to sleep there tonight to keep out of the cold.
Neighbors in Westport, NJ pitch in to help clean up.
New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio rounded up more than 2,000 volunteers who were offering their help and he and his staff have “dispatched roughly 300 people to all parts of the city, to perform tasks ranging from distributing drinking water to people who don’t have it in Chinatown to delivering meals on wheels to needy senior citizens, to distributing FEMA information to impacted neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.”
NYPD Officer Artur Kasprzak died during the storm while out helping.
Animals were not forgotten. Rescue workers saved pets and a man in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey rescued a wild deer who had been swept into the sea.
More than 500 power workers came up from Alabama to assist in recovery efforts, and at least 150 came from the West Coast to help restore power: Southern California Edison “boom trucks” and linemen from San Diego Gas and Electric rushed to come help.
Pleasantville, New Jersey parents and children donated their Hallowe’en candy to the Red Cross to distribute to children who did not get to go trick or treating.
AirBNB in Brooklyn is offering $10 guest lodging for Sandy refugees.
Bleeker Street Pizza and 11B Express are still serving pizza. Bleeker Street Pizza is using flashlights and a gas oven, and 11B Express is offering slices for free.
The Drink in Brooklyn delivered free ice to restaurants in Manhattan.
Yoga To The People is offering free showers at their facilities, and, “until November 14, Washington Sports Clubs will allow community residents to use their facilities for free, including the use of a hot shower or power to charge electronics, or if they want to get in a workout.”
Mashable reports: “Yoink, a virtual bulletin board launched two weeks ago, has been completely repurposed to provide aid to New Yorkers in Sandy’s wake. It’s now a peer-to-peer disaster relief site.”
Also reported by Mashable: “Insurer State Farm has come to Gawker’s rescue — by sponsoring a backup site for the network of blogs which had been knocked offline since Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday.”
New York Tech Meetup (NYTM) members and other techie volunteers are fanning out to try to help residents without power find workspaces, Internet access points and charging stations.
Mary Elizabeth Williams from Salon reports that The New York Aquarium was badly hit, but staff and volunteers pitched in to help save the animals: “The aquarium had been, until Sandy, one of the few in the country to house walruses.” Eighteen staff workers risked their own lives and safety to stay with all the aquarium denizens as the storm roared ashore.
Comcast announced it will allow anyone to access Xfinity wi-fi hot spots in several states affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo and TD Bank are among the firms waiving things like overdraft fees for a limited time.
Andrew Carmellini from The Dutch NYC offered free soup and salad.
Sam Hazen of Veritas reported:
Veritas is closed due to the power issue, but our wines are aging well and we cannot wait to re-open. The saving grace was Mark Pastore from LaFrieda Meats, who was kind enough to take our meats, not to mention send us boxes as well to pack them, send a refrigerated truck, have his driver help us load the truck, bring them back to their warehouse, store them in the walk-in, and deliver them back when we open back up. That is a purveyor and chef relationship that will make any chef smile. Thank you Pat and Mark.
Num Pang in Union Square gave away free sandwiches.
Fort Defiance hosted a communal cookout yesterday with their friends at Home/Made.
Lonestar Taco set up at Front Street and Peck Slip downtown to offer free food to all comers.
The Brooklyn Kitchen, a kitchen supply store, headed to the Rockaways with donated goods and encouraged other residents to donate more diapers, food, warm clothing, shoes and other goods so they could transport them to people in need.
Duracell has trucks in Battery Park and Hoboken so residents can charge their phones for free:
The Duracell Rapid Responder Trucks have been moving throughout the New York/Tri-State area to provide power relief in the areas of greatest need, making multiple stops everyday to help first responders and families recharge and reconnect with loved ones. At each truck stop, people will have access to charging lockers for mobile devices, computers, WiFi and a battery distribution center to help them stay powered up when they need it most.
CNN has provided a power station for residents in Lower Manhattan.
Rachel Goldberg sent in a picture to Mashable demonstrating the generosity of Percy’s Tavern on 13th and Ave. A: “Friends and neighbors: please make use of our generator for phone charging to contact friends & family to let them know how you are.”
Goldberg also reports that there is a woman on Avenue C grilling up free food, and residents are taking turns riding bikes hooked to generators to produce power so more neighbors could charge their mobile phones.
NYC language school Fluent City is offering free workspaces and discounts on classes.
An eleven-year-old child, Lucy Walkowiak, got help from her dad Steve and set up a pop-up Internet café in Hoboken to raise money for the Red Cross.
Whole Foods passed out free fruit.
Adorama camera and film equipment store on West 18th offered free phone charging.
Charrito’s in Hoboken, New Jersey also gave away free food.
UHaul is offering free storage and moving services for stricken superstorm victims in the Northeast:
In addition to the 30-days-free self-storage assistance being offered, people who need boxes can take advantage of the U-Haul Take a Box, Leave a Box Program. The program enables customers to return their reusable boxes and allows others to take them as needed — FREE. U-Haul encourages anyone who has any type of reusable box to drop it off at the nearest U-Haul location and allow another family to reuse the box, free of charge, instead of throwing the reusable box into the recycling bin. U-Haul also has propane available and urges customers to stop in to ensure that their propane tanks are topped off, since propane is a good thing to have on hand when these storms come through. Families needing more information about the 30-days-free self-storage assistance program should contact one the following U-Haul regional offices.
Northern Spy Food Company is offering free food in the East Village.
A Hoboken resident set out a snack table full of free food.
DeCicco Food Market in Pelham, New York, is offering free storage for frozen foods and free mobile phone charging.
Cafecito Bogotá in Greenport is offering free homemade Columbian soup.
A little boy in New York City set up a magician’s table on the sidewalk and exchanged magic trick performances for donations to Sandy victims.
Town Sports International franchises are allowing New Yorkers to shower, change, charge phones and exercise for free (they do ask that you bring your own towels if possible, due to difficulties with towel deliveries):
Town Sports International network of gyms have opened its doors for full use of its facilities, “whether it’s the need for a hot shower, to charge a cell phone battery, or simply to recharge their batteries with a stress-relieving workout” until Nov. 14. The Town Sports International network has 160 locations including New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs and Philadelphia Sports Clubs.
The Wall Street Journal removed its Internet pay wall so all articles could be read for free without limitations.
NYC Water set out free, clean water stations for thirsty residents.
Brightbox, Inc., a small business which usually charges a flat fee to charge up your devices, has set up free charging stations in Manhattan.
AT&T is planning to set up free charging stations near shelters and food kitchens.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority is temporarily offering free subway, rail and bus services.
Liquid offered free bicycle rentals.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported: “Sharing power from our sat truck with Hoboken residents needing to charge phones and get online.”
Waffletruck was spotted handing out free waffles near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Residents can enjoy a free hockey game this weekend courtesy of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers team.
A Lincoln Avenue, Sayville resident set out some free hot coffee in Long Island.
Banfield Pet Hospital offered free basic office visits and physical exams at more than 140 veterinary hospitals in the states affected by Sandy.
Reported on Facebook: “A resident assists in rescue efforts with his jet ski as emergency personnel rescue residents from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey.”
Rob Petrone from FIOS1 News reports:
Sondra Rivera [in Red Hook] welcomed her neighbor and friend, Jasmin Guisao, her son and her dog, Sandy, to the small apartment she shares with her own clan and their pet dog, Zeus. As Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York flooding Guisao’s apartment building [in Brooklyn] and cutting all electricity, the family was able to put their worries behind and enjoy a night of Scrabble instead.
As reported by Rockford, Illinois’ WIFR: “In New York City, The Salvation Army has served hundreds of thousands meals via several service sites and mobile canteens. With the assistance of 400 National Guard troops, The Salvation Army was able to deliver meals to shut-in residents.” The Salvation Army National Headquarters states that:
Over the last few days, we have been blessed with encouraging comments from fans and followers on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and continue to receive an abundance of offers to help through either donating or volunteering. We are incredibly thankful for this thoughtful and generous support which enables our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) crews to meet the needs of communities in crisis throughout the northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
It’s nice to be reminded that even when times are hard, some people do go out of their way to help others. Faith in humanity, restored.