After Sandy: How to Help & Where to Get Help

After Sandy: How to Help & Where to Get Help

November 04, 2012 at 9:20 pm

hurricane sandy, national guard, emergency water distribution

Members of New York National Guard transfer bottles of water at the 1st Battalion, 69th Regiment Armory, in New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver one million meals and bottled water to New York City, include the Rockaways that were hit by flooding and house fires. AP Photo/Richard Drew.

Hurricane Sandy has left the region but her wrath is still being felt by many. In New York City, most power has been restored to Manhattan, but areas like Breezy Point and the Rockaways have been devastated by flooding and fires. Coney Island is also in dire need of utility services.

In New Jersey, entire neighborhoods on the Jersey Shore were destroyed and billions of dollars in property damage. Hoboken saw catastrophic flooding.

On Long Island, nearly a million people lived without power for many days, and thousands are still waiting.

Residents in the region need help. And those who don’t, want to help. MetroFocus and NJToday are here to deliver the information you need. Follow the hashtag #sandyvolunteer, the unofficial hashtag for those looking to volunteer and those looking for help.


Disaster Assistance Service Centers that help people apply for emergency social and economic assistance have opened in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Click link for addresses or call 311. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to help homeowners and small businesses apply for loans.

Relief may also include unemployment and other payments to residents who are not covered by insurance, or aren’t already receiving benefits from their states. Visit or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and weekends. Before you call, be sure to have the following information ready: address of affected property, insurance information and your Social Security number.

Information from the Dept. of Homeland Security includes power outage information, how to contact and find loved ones, alerts, flooding recovery tips and more.


New York City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed an emergency order establishing an odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases, beginning Friday, Nov. 9 at 6 a.m.  License plates ending in an even number or the number “0” can make purchases of motor fuel on even numbered days; licenses plates ending in an odd number, a letter or other character can make purchases on odd numbered days.

Check for the latest news from Mayor Bloomberg’s office. Governor Andrew Cuomo updates his website regularly with new announcements for the city and state.


Here is the most current list of overnight warm city shelters as well as corresponding bus pick-up locations to transport people to shelter. Daytime warming centers are open for roughly eight hours, allowing people to get out of the cold.

Bus service is offered from 4 to 9 p.m. to take people to warm shelters if they cannot get their own their own. The bus pickups are listed here.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced an unprecedented partnership with the temporary housing website Airbnb, a company that links people looking for a place to stay with people who have room in their home to rent. The deal struck between the City and Airbnb means people can donate temporary housing and people displaced by Hurricane Sandy can search for housing for free online.  Airbnb will insure the host as it always does, and the only requirement of those seeking shelter is that they have a credit card to verify their identity. Already 179 Airbnb members have already opened their homes for free.

If you would like to offer space in your home, click here.

If you need shelter, click here.

Food and Water:

Volunteers at the Coney Island food and water distribution site, one of 14 official sites in New York City, delivered water bottles to every floor of NYCHA housing complexes in the area, most of which were without hot water, heat and electricity.

Volunteers at the Coney Island food and water distribution site were organized by United Way of NYC. MetroFocus interviewed the nonprofit's president and CEO, Sheena Wright, about relief efforts on Nov. 8, 2012. MetroFocus/Christina Knight

Distribution sites in all boroughs but the Bronx are distributing food, water and blankets between 1 – 5 p.m. Locations and times available here. The National Guard, NYC Service and the Salvation Army are serving residential high-rises in the blackout zones to identify seniors, medically-vulnerable and those with disabilities. They will be delivering one million meals and bottled water to those in need.

The Food Bank of New York is distributing food via mobile distribution centers, Meals on Wheels is continuing to deliver food to the elderly and City Harvest is delivering food to soup kitchens and food pantries.

Water Only:

The city Department of Environmental Protection has set up free water-on-the-go stations across the city that are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Breezy Point, Queens
23rd Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan
23rd Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
14th Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan
Houston Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan
Canal and Centre streets, Manhattan
Monroe Street, Manhattan


American Red Cross NY:  877-733-2767 or 516-747-3500
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City 
New York City Service
New York Cares
The United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund
The Brooklyn Recovery Fund

The Nov. 11 Veteran’s Day Parade will be a rally for storm victims. A coat drive for New York Cares will be held, and coats will be collected by marchers along the parade route and deposited in trucks in the parade. Coats will also be collected at hundreds of locations throughout the five boroughs including all NYPD Police Precincts and library branches in the New York Public Library, Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library systems.  Starting Nov. 15, drop-off locations will open at New York Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal (December only) and many other sites.

On Staten Island, one of the worst hit areas in the city, many businesses, community centers and places of worship are accepting donations for those who have lost homes or are without power.


A volunteer group from Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn makes sandwiches for people staying in the shelter at the Park Slope Armory. Photo by Cindy Greenberg.

Give Blood:

The New York Blood Center is in great need of blood. Locations: in Midtown at 601 Lexington (the Citigroup building), in the Upper East Side on 67th Street between First and Second Avenue, at the Elmsford Center in Westchester County and the East Fishkill and Kingston Center, both located in the Hudson Valley.

Medical Services:

Mobile medical vans that will provide medical care and distribute commonly prescribed drugs are now at several of the city’s Disaster Assistance Service Centers in the Rockaways and Coney Island, as well as two additional high-need locations in the Rockaways. The vans will also be on Staten Island on Tuesday.

– Queens Locations

Redfern Houses Playground; 1462 Beach Channel Drive; Redfern and Beach 12th Street
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

*Walbaums Parking Lot; 112-15 Beach Channel Drive between Beach 112th/Beach 113th Streets
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

St. Frances de Sales ; 129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

– Coney Island Locations

*Coney Island – MCU Parking Lot; 1904 Surf Avenue
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

* Far Rockaway – Fort Tilden Park; Fort Tilden Park (closest end to Breezy Point); Beach Channel Boulevard
Hours: 10 a.m. -5 p.m.

*The city’s Federal Disaster Service Center are located in the same locations.

Other Federal Disaster Service Center locations:

Edgewater Firehouse Parking Lot, 1 Adee Place between 9th Avenue and Edge Street, Bronx: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mount Loretto at 6581 Hylan Blvd. at Sharrotts Road, Staten Island: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Miller Field at 600 New Dorp. Lane at Weed Avenue, Staten Island: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Also see locations under Shelter, below, to inquire about volunteering there.

New York Cares or 212-402-1101
New York City Service
The United Way of New York City is coordinating volunteers through its Hurricane Sandy Recovery Page.

Coney Island is relatively accessible by public transportation and has need of volunteers and services as of Sunday evening. Ilma Joyner, president of NYCHA O’Dywer Gardens‘ tenants association, told MetroFocus the complex needed volunteer services and donations of warm clothing items, blankets, flashlights and batteries. Residents on Neptune Avenue in nearby Sea Gate were desperate for news of city support services, and whether generators would be made available. Cell phone reception is spotty in Sea Gate, but Gothamist reports that volunteers or donations for Sea Gate can contact community manager Tami Maldonado at (917) 549-9658.


The New York City’s Office of Emergency Management Animal Planning Task Force has set up a 24-hour hotline for evacuees who were unable to bring their pets with them to a shelter. Call 347-573-1561 for help. Also check #sandypets on Twitter.


NYC Parks suffered a lot of damage in Hurricane Sandy. See the links below to volunteer in the city’s parks.

Click here to volunteer in the Bronx
Click here
to volunteer in Brooklyn
Click here
to volunteer in Manhattan
Click here to volunteer in Queens

New Jersey

Jersey Shore towns were ripped apart by the storm. NJToday and MetroFocus reported on Belmar and Neptune on Nov. 8, 2012.


The American Red Cross has shelters open for hurricane victims.

Basic help and services:

Toll free help line: 211 or  go to


PSE&G utility company is distributing free ice and water to customers without power at the following locations on a first come, first served basis between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:

  • Elizabeth Customer Service Center, 550 N. Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ
  • West Orange Customer Service Center, 59 Main Street, West Orange, NJ
  • Paramus Park Mall 700 Paramus Park Paramus, NJ (Next To Macy’s behind the Crown Plaza)
  • Burlington Customer Service Center, 501 High Street, Burlington, NJ (PSE&G lot across the street)


The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund organized by Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie raises funds and resources to help New Jersey families impacted by the devastation of the storm.

American Red Cross NJ 973-797-3300 or 732-493-9100

Community Food Bank of NJ or 908-355-3663

Salvation Army

Give Blood:

Community Blood Services in Paramus needs donations.


Call 1-800-JERSEY-7  or visit the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website, which lists many volunteer opportunities.

JerseyCares or 973-424-1091

To volunteer in South Jersey near the Jersey Shore visit the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page.

Hoboken needs volunteers (report to City Hall) and donations of non-perishable foods and water (bring them to Hoboken High School). The shelters in the city need food and clothing.


The Christie Administration announced Friday  a 24-hour hotline for residents affected by Hurricane Sandy who left their pets behind when evacuating their homes.  Call 1-855-407-4787 (1-855-407-HSUS).

Other places to report lost pets is the American Humane Association, the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Also check #sandypets on Twitter.


Long Island

Long Beach, Long Island. Photo courtesy Long Island Business Report.

MetroFocus reported on Long Beach, Long Island, on Nov. 8, 2012. Photo courtesy Long Island Business Report.

Governor Andrew Cuomo updates his website regularly with new announcements regarding conditions throughout the state.


Donate to the American Red Cross NY online or call 1- 877-733-2767 or (516) 747-3500.


The American Red Cross has shelters open for hurricane victims.

Food and Water:

Donate food and supplies to Island Harvest, 199 Second St., Mineola, 516-294-8528 or Long Island Cares, 10 Davids Dr. (Harry Chapin Way), Hauppauge, 631-582-FOOD.

Food stations have also been set up across the island:

Nassau: Christopher Morely Park, 500 Searingtown Rd., Roslyn; Nickerson Beach Park, 850 Lido Bld., Lido Beach; and Cedar Creek Park, 3340 Merrick Rd., Seaford.

Suffolk at the H. Lee Dennison Building, 100 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge; Riverhead City Center, 210 Center Dr., Riverhead; and Mastic Fire House, 1080 Mastic Rd., Mastic.


Long Island Cares or 516-442-5221
Long Island Volunteer Center or 516-564-5482


To find your lost pets, contact the American Humane Association, the ASPCA or the Humane Society. Also check #sandypets on Twitter.



MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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