Resources are extremely limited in the disaster zones – Food, water, warming huts,
police protection, first aid and psychological services on-site exist to assist the
The Rockaways are about 17 miles from Williamsburg and it is relatively easy to
make the trip. Typically, in disaster relief scenarios, untrained volunteers are asked
to donate money, blood or goods – but to stay out of the affected area.
Hurricane Sandy provided many chances for untrained volunteers can to be very
helpful. Volunteers on the ground are valuable if prepared.
Consider the following tips:
- Allow 1 hour drive time with traffic + gas lines.
- Leave Brooklyn around between 9:00 -10:00 am. Leave the Rockaways before dark as it is very dangerous and cold at night – especially without electricity.
Pack a backpack with items to support your own survival and comfort needs:
1. Water – enough for a day of hard work.
2. Food + snacks for yourself and other volunteers
4. Flashlight with batteries // Headlamp
5. Antibacterial wipes
6. Charged phone + camera, bring car chargers
7. Warm layers and a rain jacket
8. Work shoes to navigate rusted nails, raw sewage, debris and snow
9. Extra pair of dry socks
10. Pair of work gloves + dust mask
11. Chap stick, sunscreen, toilet paper, Kleenex, first aid supplies and advil
Other Information –
- Print and review a map of the area – cell phone service can be spotty
- Document shelter locations, drop-off points and distribution hubs so you can share information with residents and bring updated information back to organizers. Post updates to www.SparkRelief.org
- Gather contact information and updated supply lists from residents and shelters – including a list of ‘ No longer accepting donations of XX’
- Ask residents if you can take their photos and share their stories.
Perspective: Be there to help, offer support and positivity. Your energy and
optimism will give hope to people suffering from lost homes, loved ones and
Compassion breeds hope.