Photo by Conrad Doucette

Many New Yorkers are wondering how, where, and when they can help those who were most affected or have lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy—here is a list, which is growing each day with more grassroots efforts. But what do people need the most? At The Red Hook Initiative, located at 767 Hicks Street, we're told they are "in desperate need of material donations," and their most needed list includes:

  • Already prepared food (including food for children)
  • Blankets
  • Baby products (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • Batteries, flashlights, candles, power strips
  • Toiletries (including toilet paper and paper towels)
  • Utensils such as spoons and bowls
  • Jugs of water
  • Ensure bottles
  • Vitamins
  • Generators
  • Sanitary pads, tampons
  • Toothpaste
  • Cat and dog food
  • Food: cereal, bread, canned goods (it can never hurt to donate a can opener, as well), chips, pasta

As we know from Staten Island, there is also a need for utensils and plates, warm clothes/socks/underwear, tape, cleaning supplies, water, heavy duty garbage bags, and of course: gas. In areas like Rockaway things like propane grills and tarps are also needed (here's a list for Rockaway). While people are donating gift cards, and that's a very nice gesture, please keep in mind that people are unable to get to stores right now (cars have been destroyed by flooding, there's no gas, there's limited mass transit, etc), so this does not help the immediate need. If you want to donate money, you can do so through the Mayor's Fund or Red Cross.

Helping hands are also needed—if you want to donate your time, you can also volunteer to clean-up and canvass areas, here is a comprehensive list from the city's volunteer effort, NYC Service, of how to help.