In response to Hurricane Sandy, All Hands Volunteers has announced it is concurrently launching two project sites – Project Staten Island and Project Rockaway. While local residents and volunteers have begun clearing debris from their homes and businesses, the scale of the challenge remains daunting. Response efforts are further complicated by gas shortages, transit disruptions, power outages, and dropping temperatures.
After seven years of providing disaster relief and empowering more than 7,000 volunteers at 28 projects around the world, All Hands knows well the importance of planning and putting systems into place to manage what is otherwise chaos.
“A lot of organizations and people show up wanting to help but, unless there is some method to the madness, it can be extremely difficult to meet the needs of residents effectively,” said David Campbell, All Hands’ executive director and co-founder.
Part of All Hands’ approach to providing relief, after conducting a thorough assessment, is to use proven systems to match need to volunteer relief efforts. When there is not enough local volunteer support to meet the needs, they invite volunteers to join a project base that has staffing, housing, food, transportation, tools and qualified team leaders.
“There is great need in the affected communities and they are overwhelmed by the amount of destruction and rebuilding necessary to recover,” said Jeremey Horan, operations director. “There has also been a tremendous outpouring of volunteers from the boroughs of New York City and the surrounding region. Spontaneous volunteers are connecting to community efforts through the week and turning out in full force (on the order of thousands!) on the weekends.
“We are first organizing work and providing volunteer coordination for these local volunteers,” said Horan. “As All Hands focuses on engaging local volunteers, we will simultaneously explore how we can effectively and responsibly apply our generous volunteer interest from outside the area.”
Those who want to support All Hands Volunteers’ efforts to help communities in need after Hurricane Sandy can text RESPOND to 80088 to donate $10. Other donations can be submitted at www.hands.org/donate
For more information on All Hands’ response to Hurricane Sandy, visit http://www.hands.org.
Source: All Hands Volunteers