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