Last Sunday, while our 12 volunteers were out clearing debris and lifting spirits in the Rockaways, a second team of Goodwill volunteers were sorting donations, coordinating aide and making a difference in Brooklyn.
Our lead contact Jomaira L. Martinez describes how she spent the day working at the Occupy Sandy Relief NYC base, and also how you, too, can get involved in donation organization and Sandy Relief at The Church of St.Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn.
During my time at The Church of St.Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, our team split up as directed by the Occupy Sandy Relief NYC coordinators. While others tackled their tasks, I volunteered to assist in the mental health/direct mutual aide department of the relief effort.
I was made “Coordinator” of the department for the time I was there, in which I did the following:
- Provided information to incoming volunteers
- Provided direct mental health services to those in need
- Provided information of additional Sandy resources available in mental health services, emergency food stamp vouchers, housing, heating, FEMA information, clothing, food pantries, and more.
- Assessed the needs of Sandy victims and provided immediate relief efforts
- Coordinated with other coordinators of departments to provide maximum relief efforts
- Provided friendly smiles and words of encouragement to victims as well as volunteers and visitors (my favorite part)
Although we were there for several hours, our team jumped right into the action and maximized our time to provide relief effort. It was a rewarding experience and one I would not hesitate to do again.
Sandy relief is an ongoing process and it’s not at all too late to jump in and get involved. Here at GoodwillNyNj, we’re working hard to gather donations for people affected by the storm. We’re also hoping to make it a little easier for victims of Sandy to replace what they need most – we’re inviting all those who lost property in the storm to come to our stores and “shop” for whatever they need most with a $50/family member (present or not) in-store credit.
To use the shopping credit, go to any Goodwill store (for sites go to www.goodwillnynj.org) and present documentation from FEMA, Red Cross or your insurance company to shop for needed items. Each individual may spend up to $50 and family members $50 each. We also would like to thank the many donors who have supported our hurricane relief efforts.
If you’re looking for more active involvement, check out our new Pinterest Board all about ways you can participate in relief efforts, ranging from giving blood to sorting donations and cleaning debris: http://pinterest.com/goodwillnynj/sandy-relief-efforts-where-to-go-to-get-involved/
If you’re in need of assistance yourself or know someone who is, we’ve got a Board for you too: http://pinterest.com/goodwillnynj/sandy-relief-efforts-where-to-go-to-get-assistance/