How Can I Help?

small__2177647895“How can I help?” is the first question most of us ask when someone needs assistance – especially in a situation like Hurricane Sandy, where thousands of people have lost their homes and have no place else to go because their entire communities and existing support systems have been destroyed. Many thousands of families whose homes are intact are still facing no electricity, heat or other services that we usually take for granted. State, local and national government agencies, along with the Red Cross and other relief organizations mobilize almost immediately to set up shelters with clean water, heat, food and medical help. In the worst of the storm and its aftermath, many people could not even get to the shelters due to lack of transportation, and flooded streets filled with dangerous debris and downed electric wires. Recovery is not going to be a quick fix, by any stretch. All kinds of help and support will be needed for months and years to come. Roads, public transport, homes, schools and public buildings will all have to be repaired or rebuilt. Many people have looked at what used to be their home or their community and decided to start again, somewhere else – it may easier to start over than to rebuild. Others have rolled up their sleeves, and begun the clearing process. What can an average person do to help in such a situation? The Red Cross has trained volunteers that hit the ground running – but what about those of us who are not trained and still want to help? Sometimes organizations will take volunteers, especially if they have medical training or experience. And if a person is serious about being able to help in a time of disaster, if not this one then the next one, you can contact the Red Cross and apply to train as a volunteer – over 95% of what is done by the Red Cross is done by volunteers, from blood drives to international disaster support. And there are many other organizations that supply help of all kinds, the majority of hands-on work provided by volunteers. Money is certainly useful, especially if it can buy supplies that can be transported to the areas in most need. Local churches are often places that can do outreach – from offering temporary homes to displaced persons, to providing support at the site, sometimes through “sister” churches in the area. Check with your church to see if there is any program in place, or to see if a support program can be started. The Bolton Landing and Lake George Chambers of Commerce both became collection centers for practical item donations. Bolton Landing will continue to keep accepting donations as long as there are people to drive these to relief centers in the neediest areas – the first few vehicles that took items were local residents with families in those areas, college students returning to school, and any other vehicles willing to take a load. The first items included cases of water, cleaning supplies, pet food, blankets and linens.  The office is still full of items waiting to go as soon as transportation is available – if you are going to the area an can take a load , please call the Chamber and let us know. THINGS TO DONATE      BOLTON CHAMBER    518-644-3831

  • Bottled Water
  • Batteries, flashlights, lanterns
  • Blankets, sheets, towels, linens, sleeping bags, cots
  • Baby Food, prepared formula, baby products, diapers
  • Canned foods
  • Cleaning supplies: dish and laundry detergent, bleach, disinfectants
  • Disposable wipes, hand sanitizers, rubber gloves
  • Goggles, work gloves
  • Mops, brooms, sponges, buckets, heavy duty trash bags
  • Hand warmers
  • Paper products, paper towels
  • Pet food
  • School supplies
  • Toiletries and feminine products
Do you have any suggestions for things to donate, or ways to help? Please share – Thank you  – Penelope Jewell        ]]>