I admit it: I underestimated Sandy.
Sure, I watched the news leading up to the storm with fascination and anxiety, but I really didn’t grasp just how awful and life-changing this storm would be for people on the East Coast.
Nor did I anticipate the extent of the damage and the length of the clean-up. Two weeks after “superstorm Sandy” blasted the East Coast, I figured things would be getting better for families in the affected areas.
Unfortunately, what I’m hearing from people in parts of New Jersey, Long Island and other hard-hit areas, that’s not necessarily the case.
A few days ago my heart ached for a brand-new mom who took to Twitter to plead with the power company to get heat to her house so she could leave the hospital with her newborn.
At least that mom had a warm, dry place to care for her baby. Not everyone is so fortunate, and the trouble goes beyond lack of electricity. A friend of mine compared to a neighboring New Jersey community to a “war zone”, with residents literally helping one another survive. Others tell stories of empty grocery shelves, freezing and water-soaked homes.
What parent wants to be worrying about post-Sandy toxins polluting schools and soccer fields?
And as a mother who treasures creating memories with my family, I’m also pained by the loss of beloved, historic family vacation spots along the shore.
As reader Kathy Presnell shared on The Happiest Mom’s Facebook page, “The Jersey Shore is not Snookie and beer, it’s sunshine and sand, and lifelong memorable vacations. It’s collecting sea glass, and fireworks over the roller coasters. It’s changed forever. Some places just washed out into the ocean. People’s forever homes destroyed.”
- This spreadsheet offers an extensive, up-to-date list of needs in New Jersey along with contact information.
- Cool Mom Picks offers a long list of ways to help, some of which are family- and mom-focused. I’m planning to make a donation to Baby Buggy, which supplies babies in need with diapers and other essential supplies. They have a Hurricane Sandy relief page set up where you can easily donate anything from a pack of diapers to a Pack-and-Play.
- Here is a list of relief efforts specific to Staten Island, which was particularly hard-hit by Sandy.
- Almost every New Jersey resident I’ve asked has pointed to the New Jersey Relief Fund as a good way to help.
- Pigtail Pals offers some great ideas for helping out, including some grassroots mom-to-mom efforts (like a woman offering freezer space to pumping moms).
As Sandy becomes “old news” for those of us living in areas comfortably removed from its effects, it’s only too easy to get so distracted by the busy-ness of life that we forget how much fellow moms (and their kids) are still struggling. Let’s challenge ourselves to stay aware by paying attention to these stories and providing whatever kind of help we’re able.
Do you have any organizations or causes you’d like us to know about? Or just want to give an update on what conditions are like in your area or how Sandy is affecting your family? Please let us know in the comments below. I will plan to keep updating my list of ways to help above and if there’s enough response, may share your stories in a future post.