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Rockaway Relief Efforts

Please check our up-to-date list of relief needs and places accepting materials

This summer, we worked closely with communities in Rockaway around issues of vacant public land during a three-week residency. We were welcomed and made lasting connections. A dozen groups started oranizing projects around sites and are engaged in our network. 

The people in those groups live in Rockaway. They are some of the most affected by Hurricane Sandy; the affects of the storm are exacerbated by a history of unequal resource distribution to the Rockaway neighborhoods. Thousands have been without heat or power for a week now. Access to food and medical care is being provided by awesome on-the-ground community responders like you and me. The problem is worse because Rockaway is cut off from the transit network and there is a gas shortage. 

With our friends at UnLocal, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and the Gowanus Studio Space, we are doing what we can to coordinate assistance for our friends and neighbors. We are trying to listen closely to their needs through this crisis. Read below for context and here's how you can help:

 

1. What do I do with stuff I want to donate?

Please take them to Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn). We are synthesizing up to date lists of what folks need now, every 6-12 hours. Or just take your stuff straight to the Rockaways! Save a step!

2. What do I do with my car?

Enter your information into our ride share form. It will be visible here, and people who need rides will get in touch with you.

3. How can I join a cleanup crew or volunteer some other way?

Go to St. Gertrude's in the Rockaways: 336 Beach 38th Street. Someone can help you find a volunteer action and a location. Need a ride? Check our ride share spreadsheet.


4. How can I help with food?

Join the Rockaways Food Relief Group to coordinate with others who want to prepare and distribute food. 

This message was sent on Sunday, November 4 at 8pm. It is a follow up to an earlier message, sent 24 hours prior, that generated an overwhelming response. That earlier message is below but the most current information is here. <3 

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Collaborators,

Today was better. The sun was shining and there were a lot of folks out in the Rockaway neighborhoods. People are home; they are dedicated to rebuilding, to staying put and taking care of their neighbors.

So here's what we can do:

DIRECT ACTION
Go there to help. If you have gas, the roads are fine. Keep in mind that whatever your direct action plans are, sites are closing down at 4pm, when it gets cold and dark and folks who live out there need to already be supplied for the day.

The folks at the Beach 87th Surf Club, 302 Beach 87th Street, are coordinating volunteers and doing a great job. We can connect you with them if you’d like or you can just show up tomorrow (Monday) starting at 10am. Bring a bike if you can, and supplies if you are driving. Today felt really different because there were a lot of happy helpful people with their friends. We realize tomorrow is Monday, but if you can make being a presence in Rockaway this week at all a priority, do. The new energy helps so much. Specifically clean up crews are still needed, especially in Broad Channel.

FOOD
Folks need non-perishable food and prepared meals, served hot.

Gowanus Studio Space will continue to be a clearinghouse for food and to send it out with any drivers that go, but the most helpful thing right now would be an army of food trucks and craft services vehicles with their own ingredients and fuel. Or if you can bring food out to Rockaway, pick a corner and feed people for an hour (bring a table) or drive around until you find a church with empty tables. We found one today at Beach 42nd and Beach Channel Drive.  

Many folks have expressed interest also in sharing ingredients, kitchens, and cooking/prep duties. We are trying to coordinate hot meals out there for the week. There is a spreadsheet and already a long list of volunteers on all fronts to facilitate that. E-mail Michele@unlocal.org if you are interested.

ELECTRICITY
There are charging stations popping up at churches and street corners. More are needed and the distribution centers are mostly without power. If you can set up a generator, do it!

Specifically, the church on Beach 38th Street and Beach Channel Drive needs a generator. If they can get it, they can have power to their gym and have an indoor place where people can be together. Ask for Jimmy.

SUPPLIES
Requests from Beach 87th Surf Club, 302 Beach 87th Street (opens at 10am tomorrow):
Flashlights/lanterns that run on batteries, Batteries, Candles, Blankets (!!!), Socks, Mops, Cleaning supplies (sponges, laundry detergent, bleach - SMALLER BOTTLES ARE BETTER), fresh food (especially fruits & vegetables!), canned food, gas

Requests from Rockaway Youth Task Force, 321 Beach 57th St, needs canned food after 10am tomorrow and everyday.

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, at the firehouse at Beach 59th and Beach Channel Drive needs a generator, lights, and a PRINTER. Ask for Jeanne. **Note that the Firehouse at Beach 59th Street is no longer accepting donations.

Post Office at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 59 needs hot food to distribute in the daylight hours, as well as batteries, blankets, candles, flashlights and a generator, gas, and power strips.

People will need things out there for a long time. If you’d like to donate to a place where we can guarantee things will get distributed in the coming days, bring the following items to the Gowanus Studio Space, 166 7th Street, Brooklyn NY 11215. You can also mail things (ATTN: RELIEF), but money is quicker: Batteries, Flashlights, Non perishable food, Firewood, Blankets, Duraflame Logs, Charged Power Tools, Industrial Trash Bags, Hand Tools, Water, Generators, Pumps, Toiletries, Cleaning Supplies, Diapers and wipes

MONEY
Where to send it: donate to CAAAV; they are supporting direct efforts by distrbuting financial resources on the ground immediately to folks in Rockaway via a distributed network of trusted community based organizations: http://caaav.org/take-action/donate-to-caaav

DOCTORS
Doctors, RN’s and other folks who can write or deliver Rxs are still needed at every food/goods distribution point. Contact meltzercohen@gmail.com who is coordinating these efforts.

LEGAL TEAM
The state food stamps office has made Food Stamp replacements automatic for all recipients, making legal needs less dire for the most vulnerable. Folks will need help with FEMA, Emergency Unemployment, Housing and Public Benefits. Clinics will be set up next week as the situation gets more stable. Email paula@596acres.org to volunteer or to connect with other volunteers. We are building a Rockaway Sandy legal resource list.  

SOME ADVOCACY
Call Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and put pressure on them to prioritize Rockaway at  (516) 719-9892.

Call your Congressperson and ask them to demand that FEMA send paper applications to Rockaway. The only system for applying for benefits now is online but most people don’t have power! FEMA has centers set up but NONE of them have paper applications available.

Local elected officials really matter right now (and thank you to those who are working hard to keep things normal). Please vote on Tuesday. Find your polling place here: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm

Thank you all of your work, support and enthusiasm. We did not expect the response we have gotten and it is very humbling. That said, we are sharing this information in the hopes that you can utilize it to make the relief efforts happen with each other, the Rockaway communities, churches, pop-up donations sites and wherever you literally see the need once you get there, as the needs are constantly changing and we can’t keep up with all of the inquiries. Do continue to keep us posted with your observations and report-backs.

We also really need some help with administration.

Love,
M & P

This message was sent out on Saturday, November 3 at 8pm. 

 

Hi Friends, Colleagues, Collaborators:

Rockaway needs are really specific and the situation is more dire and strange and disconnected than we ever imagined. This message is coming to you from Paula from 596 Acres and MIchele from UnLocal. We realize that you are being inundated with information right now -- or maybe this is the first you are hearing of the crisis that some of our city is living in. Either way, with so many folks trying to help and different avenues to donate/receive information/volunteer, we have compiled a current list of actions and needs and some general thoughts about how we can really help.

Here are some actions you can take:

Hot food in the Morning: If you can figure out how to get hot food or drink to anywhere in Rockaway between Beach 113th Street and Beach 20th Street, people need it. And they need it first thing in the morning, any day. People are distributing food and supplies on street corners; there are no indoor locations yet. By 4pm, folks are thinking about shutting down for nighttime. Food early in the day is key. Another way that you can help: Cooks and Kitchens to Cook Hot Meals: Folks willing to cook hot meals in their homes and open their homes to cook these hot meals, restaurants and other industrial-sized kitchens to assemble hot meals. Coordination with transport to bring this food out there will require some magic. Please step up. We can connect you with ingredients if you can be the power to prepare them & the means to deliver them. Email organizers@596acres.org.

Transport/ Stand on Line for Gas: There is a real transportation problem. We need to put together people willing to stand in line to get gas + people with cars without gas and create a loop of folks bringing people and specific supplies (FOOD!) to Rockaway. Also make sure that when you go, you are going to do something, don't go to just drop stuff off!

Cleaning Crew: 3-5 person cleaning crews with supplies that can help folks get their basements done. This will get the Rock closer to getting power restored. Get your friends together, buy cleaning supplies, ride your bikes out. Offer cleaning services as a crew; folks really need this at Beach 113 to Beach 12th Streets. There is real income inequality in the Rockaways; folks west of 113th are already hiring contractors to clean their basements out. 

Coordination Between the Refugee Sites: Volunteers willing to travel between the sites, tallying needs and sending those lists of needs back to the the volunteers in real-time will help facilitate and direct the volunteer efforts and donations. These volunteers should have transportation as these many locations are not passable by foot alone. Gowanus Studio Space has a spreadsheet of donations, resource and assistance locations that will be updated regularly and has agreed to act as a virtual clearinghouse for the many relief efforts that have emerged. Email: amconant@gmail.com to have access to the spreadsheet and updates. This type of coordinated effort is what is most needed right now. Please remember that without power, the cell phone and internet service out there is spotty at best. 

Legal Clinic: in the coming days, 596 Acres will be working to set up a legal clinic (or 6) for folks who need access to replacement food stamps, emergency unemployment insurance and FEMA assistance for damaged homes. If you want to volunteer, email paula@596acres.org. 

Medical Assistance/RX Writing: Doctors, RNS and other folks who can write or deliver prescriptions are needed at every food/goods distribution point. 

Items: 

There are THINGS that people do need, in addition to food. None of them are clothes. But if you know someone who is planing to go out there to do something, send them with some of these: 

lanterns
pet food
power strips 
baby supplies - especially diapers, formula 
flashlights with batteries 
cleaning supplies: Work gloves, industrial mops, masks, bleach or some heavy duty cleaner, old boots, sheetrock saws
Heat Lamps: Every distribution point needs heat lamps, big ones. Do you work for an event company or a bar that has some of these? They will be more useful in Rockaway than they are where they are now. Send them. Remember to make sure that you are sending whatever fuel is needed to make these go. THERE IS NO POWER IN MOST OF ROCKAWAY. 
Wedding tents and the like would also be great. There are very few indoor places for people to be together. 

Portable Charging Station: Can you set up a portable electric charging station? The Office of Emergency Management has a few. We set one up today at a church on Beach 74th. More needed! & send power strips! 

There are distribution areas currently (this is not a complete list) at Beach Channel Drive & Beach 113th Street, Beach Channel Drive & Beach 96th Street, Beach Channel Drive & Beach 74th Street, Beach Channel Drive & Beach 59th Street, Rockaway Parkway & Beach 38th Street and Beach 25th & Seagirt. New ones are emerging hourly as communities take care of their own in a public infrastructure vacuum. 

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This is a humanitarian crisis that will take years to recover from. The government and other municipal services are neither equipped, willing or informed to grapple with the situation on the ground. As a community, we can and are able to support the Rockaways and the need is right now. 

We love you. Be real. 

M & P