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First things first: After 11 days, I am back at home, with electricity and heat and internet (Yeah!). We saw tons of crews from all over the country working around the clock in terrible conditions to restore power. They were great, and I suspect they were surprised by people bringing them hot coffee and water even without power (go natural gas). We NYers may be gruff and rude and have awful accents, but deep down inside we are big softies.
I am fortunate to have family locally that put me and the brood up for so long. I empathize with those still without juice. My region is nowhere near 100%, with gas shortages, rationing, and at least 15% of electric customers still w/o power.
The damage was extensive: New Jersey got totally slammed, Connecticut got whacked, Staten Island is a disaster, Far Rockaway looks like Beirut. Fire Island was breached; (See charities to donate to below).
It was frustrating being without power or heat for so long; it felt like the twinkling lights across the Sound were mocking me each night — Damn you Connecticut! — with their heat and power and wasteful electric lights creating a warm rosy glow in the Northeastern sky. All is forgiven, CT, as I assume your taunts were mostly in my own head.
For those of you who have the means, may I suggest a) taking a family in who are still without heat or electricity; 2) Making a donation to a reputable charity. CharityWatch.org has a list of top rated organizations here (ALWAYS follow smart giving guidelines — see these tips and avoid creeps and scammers).
Easy: You can also just text a donation to the Red Cross: American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation — or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
More suggestions for donations, along with CharityWatch ratings of each, are after the jump
Top-rated charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) Charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, etc…
Other giving options are local community groups that will be offering shelter and food services to those in need. People should check with local houses of worship and municipal government.
All links open in a new window
- American Jewish World Service (A)
- American Red Cross (A)
- Bowery Residents’ Committee (B+)
- Brother’s Brother Foundation (B)
- CARE (A+)
- Catholic Relief Services (A+)
- Church World Service (B+)
- Direct Relief International & Foundation (A-)
- Food Bank for New York City (A)
- Habitat for Humanity International (B+)
- International Medical Corps (A)
- International Rescue Committee (A+)
- National Urban League (A)
- Operation USA (A-)
- Oxfam-America (A-)
- Salvation Army (A)
- Save the Children (A+)
- World Concern, a program of Crista Ministries (A-)
- World Vision (B+)