Monday, November 5, 2012

Contribute to Sandy Relief

A marina on Staten Island. Credit: CNN
Superstorm Sandy left a wave of devastation in her wake, displacing thousands of people who lost their homes and destroying amenities of people's daily lives. More than eight million people were without power last week in 17 states, and many cities are almost completely underwater.

For many in disaster areas whose losses are not covered by insurance, the best option is to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. People who cannot live in their homes are eligible for housing needs assistance, like hotel or rent money. The agency will also offer assistance for home repairs, cleanup costs and medical expenses related to the hurricane.

On Saturday night, about 12,800 people stayed in 200 shelters, the Red Cross reported. The group has served over 481,000 meals and snacks to people in need, and provided more than 12,000 health services and emotional support.

But there is still so much that needs to be done. And many Americans from across the country are wondering how they can help. Apart from traveling however many miles to New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, or any of the other devastated states, there are a few other ways people can lend a hand.

First, you can donate to the Red Cross, either by visiting the website or calling the help line. You can also text "Redcross" to 90999 to give a $10 donation. Blood supply is also low, so anyone in the surrounding areas who is eligible to give blood should try to make an appointment.

The Feeding America network delivered rtuckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, and its food banks set up additional emergency distribution sites, which are always looking for more volunteers and donations.

The Salvation Army set up feeding units and shelters in disaster zones. You can help in their efforts by visiting their website and provide clothes, food and beds to the displaced. You can also donate $10 by texting "Storm" to 80888.

Relief Center in Midland Beach. Credit: CNN
FEMA says that cash is the most efficient method of donating, and there are a number of organizations in each state that are active in disaster relief where people can donate or volunteer to assist.

Hundreds of businesses, media outlets, celebrities and big-name corporations have also made an effort to help. On Friday night, NBC held a telethon called "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," whcih raised close to $23 million for victims. The one hour event was hosted by Matt Lauer and headlined by Christina Aguilera and Bruce Springsteen. It generated a record number of donations by phone, text and online for the Red Cross. Time Warner and CBS each donated $1 million. The money will be put towards shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance.

Any contribution helps the cause to help rebuild the East Coast and get people back to their homes, their families and their lives.

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