This Black Friday, Businesses Can Choose to Help Sandy Victims
Even the most visceral and striking images and media coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy do not do justice to the situation on the ground. One needs to go in person to fully comprehend the gravity and magnitude of the challenges facing communities like Rocakway Beach.
I had the privilege of being able to volunteer to aid some residents with demolition and clean up work on their homes last weekend. Even with 10 people, it took us two hours to clear out a ground floor of soggy drywall and insulation. A gentleman named Tom and his son Eddie were working on their house across the street. The man's basement was an unrecognizable darkened pit, wreaking with an overpowering chemical odor, which came from the oil that spilled out of his fuel oil tank when the floodwaters rushed in. We worked in the dark, stripping soaked sheetrock off the ceiling with our hands. This was just one block out of hundreds where the recovery work is just beginning and will require months of effort.
That’s why we started Sandy Friday, a national campaign that asks for donations from individuals and business owners on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. The money raised during Sandy Friday will directly fund community-based organizations on the ground working in some of the most devastated areas since immediately after the storm hit. We have chosen to partner with these organizations because of the amount of volunteers they have been able to mobilize, their ties to the community, and most importantly, the credibility that they have garnered for themselves within the neighborhoods they are serving.
While we launch on Black Friday, we know that any effective campaign has to be sustainable with a vision for long-term success. We believe that volunteerism can happen in many different ways. This is a grassroots mobilization that starts with our collective desire to help. We call on you to ask your family, neighbors, and bosses to pledge with Sandy Friday. We ask you to donate cash or in-kind supplies as individuals. Anyone can participate, and everyone should.
As the winter comes into full force, media attention on relief efforts will inevitably start to fade, and volunteer attendance will begin to wane, but there is still rebuilding and recovery work left to do. This makes it especially important to consider which long-term options we have in place to support these communities. We must ask ourselves what we are doing on a personal level to rebuild this city and how our actions can make a positive difference in the long run. With your help, we hope that Sandy Friday can provide individuals and businesses with an ongoing channel to show solidarity with affected communities through cash and in-kind pledges in the darkest days of winter. Those who pledge can rest assured that their donations are not only tax-deductible but are also going straight to those who need it most.
We believe that while these communities have transitioned out of a pure survival phase, they are still a long way from returning to life as normal. The rebuilding phase has just begun, and once that is underway, we will see a return of the arts and culture. It is our goal to be a source of funding for the organizations that are committed to a long-term vision of rebuilding in these communities in the days and months ahead. Let's do this for the small organizations that do not have the visibility that Red Cross does, and for the people out there like Tom and Eddie who are just taking the first steps towards recovery.
If you own a business, we ask that you donate 10 percent of your Black Friday/Cyber Monday profits to Sandy Friday. If you are unable to give a full 10 percent there are many ways to still participate in Sandy Friday which include:
- Pledge on a sliding scale based on your profits for Black Friday
- Pledge a singular dollar amount
- Ask your customers to give $1 at the time of purchase
- Pledge in-kind donations to Hurricane relief
- Spread the word about Sandy Friday and get others to be involved
For individuals, we ask that you mobilize yourselves. Retweet and like, share and pin, but then put your computer to sleep and start a conversation with your boss, your neighbor, the owner at your local bar, a perfect stranger. Specifically, we call on you to do one of the things listed below:
- If you are within range, attend our Canvassing & Community Action meeting on Sunday November 18th at 4pm at Synchronicity Space Gallery (106 W. 13th Street at 6th Avenue) in Manhattan. Meet the founders of Sandy Friday and receive supplies to go door to door asking businesses and individuals to Pledge before Black Friday.
- Pledge as an individual
- Share this call to action with friends or with businesses owners you know
- And most importantly, if you know a business, ask them if they will pledge with Sandy Friday
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