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First-Hand Account of Sandy Devastation — It Could Happen Here

First hand account of a personal person to person relief effort that happened in the path of Sandy

As Floridians, we are used to watching the Tropics and the weather from June 1- December 1. We hear FEMA and state and local government repeating the mantra. Take responsibility; get 3-7 days of food and water, batteries, flashlights, fill your car with gas as when the electricity goes out there will be no gas to be had, etc.

Well there are consequences when warnings are ignored; some people are too irresponsible; some are "ants" others, "grasshoppers." Some people may not be able to afford to buy 7 days of supplies at once. Others dash inn at the last minute and nothing is left. Others do as we do over the course of time, such as when there are BOGO sales at grocery stores. Whatever the reason, when the rubber hits the road, the failure to plan and wait for FEMA and the electric grid to get back up can be devastating and the consequences can be severe.

Here is the response of a person I know who is the sister of a person in my office; they took it upon themselves to do something. No red tape, no friction between donor and donee; just Americans helping Americans. I share it as it shows just what this country is (or should be) all about... coming together when disaster strikes....moral of the story? Like the Boy Scout motto--Be Prepared... but when your fellow Americans roll up your sleeves and help.

Here is the response with pictures, verbatim...

Hello everyone,
First let me thank you all SO MUCH for your help and support so far. When we had this idea, Grace and I were basically just hoping for $500 to cover a few bags of groceries, but your response was incredible. In only two days we've raised almost $3,000 (minus the very unfortunate cut that the GoFundMe site acquires). Yesterday we went to Costco with the help of a third friend, Jess Brickman, and filled up the car with as much food and supplies as we could possibly fit, and then we drove to Rockaway. It is really devastating to see the level of destruction, but even more disturbing to realize that the residents down there are getting very little outside help. We arrived at a volunteer station at 59th St and Rockaway Beach Blvd and began to unload the car. We couldn't unload items fast enough, and the things that were most needed included water, batteries, baby diapers, gloves, blankets, and any type of food. There was really no order to the system; the station was grossly understaffed. As far as we know FEMA and Red Cross have not made an appearance there yet. People are desperate for federal help, and they believe they are forgotten and marginalized. We wanted to relay this information to you only to emphasize that by donating money to us you helped in the most direct way possible. Rather than wait for an official organization to appoint tasks, verify goods, and distribute funds, with your help we were able to bypass the red tape and actually do something effective. 
Attached are pictures from yesterday. We are going again tomorrow, and then unfortunately we will have to wait because the car will be out of gas and there's a shortage. We will keep the fundraising site open, though, and whatever is left over we will donate, so please don't hesitate to forward the link to your friends. Thanks again!
All best,
Yael & GraceRockaways GoFundMe

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Bill McElligott November 05, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Helping out free lancing is great but the best most appropriate way of helping is direct donation marked Hurricane sandy to the red cross . They have the supply chain and community needs under control. Just dumping supplies doesnt work and may encourage a "market" for goods to be sold.
Bob Tankel November 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I agree 100% I was pointing out the "Random act of kindness" aspect of what these young women did on their own. They said NOBODY, no FEMA, Red Cross was there yet. Your point further illustrates the idiocy of collecting canned goods etc. at a political rally held 800 miles away. All that "stuff" presents a logistical nightmare and detracts from the mission, but I guess it made for a good photo-op. I bet all that stuff collected stayed in Ohio,,,,
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