Sandy relief steps up

A national effort by the Red Cross is bolstered by local volunteers and Occupy aid

Topics: Charity, Occupy, Hurricane Sandy, frankenstorm, Red Cross, Blood Drive, Relief,

The Red Cross is bottom-lining the mammoth task of Hurricane Sandy relief. Having provided emergency shelters for thousands of evacuated East Coast residents since Sunday night, the organization has now sent more than 1,300 disaster workers from around the country and 230,000 ready-to-eat meals to storm-struck areas.

“This will be a large, costly relief response and we need help now,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross, in a release. Shimanksi urged that people donate funds to the relief efforts. More information about giving money and donating blood to the Red Cross can be found here. According to the organization, “nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives have already been canceled due to the storm, and there could be more as the week goes on. This means a loss of as many as 3,200 blood and platelet products.” The charity noted, “If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.” The New York Blood Center is also asking for blood donations to prevent shortages.

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The Feeding America network of food banks and agencies is preparing to deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to areas in need. In New York, Citymeals on Wheels in just three days delivered 5,400 of these boxes of food to vulnerable older New Yorkers and to those normally able to walk to their local senior centers for meals, but who were unable to do so while centers are closed during the storm. In weeks leading up to Sandy’s arrival, the organization sent out many more emergency packages to New York’s senior citizens.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of autonomous organization and mutual aid, Occupy networks are organizing non-emergency aid efforts over Twitter and Facebook, urging those seeking help in New York City to reach out, and for New Yorkers with power, Internet access and shelter to share resources. Occupy Sandy Relief NYC set up a Facebook page and organizers are using the Twitter hashtag #SandyAid.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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