Editor’s note: Meghan is a Red Cross worker from Kansas currently deployed to aid with Sandy relief efforts in New York.
Neighbors helping neighbors.
These three words have been swarming in my head after seeing community after community continue to help each other every single day. More than one month after Superstorm Sandy hit, communities continue to recover, rebuild, and reestablish their neighborhoods throughout New York. These small groups have come together to help each other in times when they need it most.
It isn’t easy. It can be a frustrating time for everyone involved, especially for the people who have lived in their communities for their entire lives, and treasure their homes and neighbors they grew up with. The Red Cross Community Partnerships Team continues to work together with local non-profits, faith based partners, like the Gospel Assembly in Coney Island, local businesses and agencies, like the Sheepshead Bay Area Improvement Group, and pop-up groups like Occupy Sandy, to coordinate and create streamlined services to increase the capacity to respond to those in need.
Teams of Red Cross Community Partnerships workers canvas communities every day. These teams reach out and partner with hundreds of groups, compiling a resource guide for each affected area and identifying long term recovery groups who are working to rebuild their neighborhoods. I have seen the devastation in Coney Island, Breezy Point, the Rockaways, and more recently, those who didn’t make the headlines in Seagate, Brighton Beach, and Sheepshead Bay. Yet, while I see the devastation I also see the community effort – the groups who have come together during a time when it is needed most, and the Red Cross effort to work together to overcome each new problem.
Teamwork and working together is key. The best thing? It is happening, every day, person by person, street by street, and neighborhood by neighborhood. As the partnerships continue to grow, and the coordinated efforts continue to push forward, the results are great. More people are served the hot meals they need, are given the masks and supplies used to clean the mold from their homes, and long term recovery meetings begin taking place to rebuild and push into the future. Partnerships continue to enhance our response, extend our reach, and best serve those affected. Let’s keep working together, and it will be done.