Uniting to help in Hurricane Sandy’s cleanup

At a time when partisan lines are sharply drawn and political campaigns are more negative than ever, it’s easy to forget what unites us. Sometimes, even a havoc-wreaking natural disaster can give us that needed reminder.

Active citizens engaging and serving in their communities have been at the core of our democracy since the nation’s founding. We’ve seen it in rhetoric from our leaders, from Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” to Barack Obama’s “united we serve.” And we’ve seen it in action: ordinary Americans uniting in a willingness to come together under extraordinary circumstances to serve, even to save, others.

Few circumstances are more extraordinary than a natural disaster, and Hurricane Sandy has been no exception. And the hurricane’s hit has been followed by swarms of volunteers and an outpouring of support.

Have you found a way to get involved? Tell us about it! Plus, here are some starting points for getting involved.

Waterfront at Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. [www.thoughtcatalog.com Thought Catalog

Red Cross

What it does: The Red Cross is perhaps the best known resource for helping out in disasters. You can donate funds, learn how to donate blood, and help in numerous other ways.

Website: redcross.org

Salvation Army

What it does: The Salvation Army will work to feed people who were affected by the storm.

Website: salvationarmyusa.org

Guidestar

What it does: If you plan to make an extensive donation, use Guidestar to research different options. It has an extensive guide about the best ways to give to charity in times of disaster. One hint: donating in the future may be a better way to help, since disaster recovery efforts can take years.

Website: guidestar.org

Jersey Cares

What it does: Do you want to volunteer in a specific region such as New Jersey? There’s a website for that–Jersey Cares helps you find the areas that need help.

Website: jerseycares.org

Food Bank NYC

What it does: You can donate your food, time, and support to the organization to help feed New York’s hungry.

Website: foodbanknyc.org

New York Cares

What it does: New York Cares mobilizes volunteers for needed areas in New York.

Website: newyorkcares.org

Recovers

What it does: Recovers helps community members organize recovery efforts.

Website: recovers.org/communities

ASPCA

What it does: Don’t forget about our animal friends! The Wall Street Journal says about 240 animals are staying with their owners in pet-friendly Red Cross shelters. You can donate to rescue and shelter animals affected by the storm at the ASPCA’s website.

Website: blog.aspca.org

AmeriCares

What it does: AmeriCares provides medicine and other supplies to people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Website: americares.org

Save the Children

What it does: Save the Children provides resources to families.

Website: savethechildren.org

World Vision

What it does: World Vision distributes flood clean-up kits, personal hygiene items, and emergency food.

Website: worldvision.org

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