Solidarity After Sandy: Occupy steps up where traditional disaster relief fails
from In These Times:
Solidarity After Sandy Occupy steps up where traditional disaster relief fails.
BY Eric Murphy
The morning after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, leaving in its wake severe damage and more than 100 deaths, members of Occupy Wall Street hit the streets. Volunteers went out into New York City neighborhoods to distribute food and aid.
The impromptu relief organization that resulted, dubbed Occupy Sandy, filled in the gaps left by FEMA, the Red Cross and official city “restoration centers,” none of which had a strong presence in the affected communities, according to reporting by The Nation’s Allison Kilkenny and others.
So Occupy Sandy took the reins, recruiting thousands of volunteers and providing tens of thousands of meals. Its effectiveness was due in large part to the Occupy ethos: rather than a top-down relief effort, volunteers asked communities what they needed and then repurposed existing networks to provide it. Occupy Sandy used churches and other community organizations to get food, water and rebuilding materials to those who needed them as quickly as possible. It also retooled Amazon’s wedding registry system into a wish list for relief supplies, from space heaters to hygiene products—which drew more than $700,000 worth of donations. .................(more)