Miss A Columnist

Anne Blessing is a communications professional and recent NYC transplant. She previously served as Miss A City Editor in Nashville, where she lived for more than two years working full-time as a publicist. Anne hails from Virginia, and received a bachelor's degree in Media Arts and Design and Studio Art from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. In her spare time Anne enjoys working as a stylist at LOFT, traveling, exploring the Big Apple, and taking Pilates and Zumba fitness classes. She is passionate about giving back, fashion and the arts, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

How To Help Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Sometimes amid the worst of situations we witness the greatest compassion. After last Monday’s Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast — devastating lower Manhattan with record-high flooding —  companies, businesses and people from across the world have pulled together to give back and offer relief to those in need. There’s an overwhelming pride of New Yorkers especially who remain tough and steadfast in their belief that “we will pull through this.” We’ve pulled together a sampling of ways you too can help rebuild the city by volunteering time, money and resources.

Manhattan cab stranded in the streets of New York City

Manhattan cab stranded in the streets of New York City (Photo Credit: UK Telegraph)

- Donate to the Red Cross: Financial donations go directly to disaster victims needing shelter, food and emotional support. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to the number 90999 to make a $10 donation of your own. Contributions of any amount can also be sent via snail mail to American Red Cross at P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

- Give blood: After Hurricane Sandy, more than 100 blood drives were cancelled, depleting blood supplies across areas in New York and New Jersey affected most. To donate blood in the New York or New Jersey area, please call the New York Blood Center at 800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.

- Help feed a family: Feeding America is distributing 2.2 million pounds of food and water to storm victims because of generous donations from businesses like General Mills, PepsiCo, Hasbro, Kelloggs and United. Find your local food bank here to donate in person or call 800-910-5524. More info is also available on Feeding America’s website.

Destruction in Breezy Point in Queens

Destruction in Breezy Point in Queens caused by the hurricane and a massive fire (Photo Credit: NY Daily News)

- Become a Community Partner with New York Cares:  If your 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization needs volunteers to help with Sandy’s aftermath, fill out a form on New York Cares website and your request will be publicized.

-Volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse: The faith-based organization, founded by Billy Graham and son Franklin, is putting together teams of volunteers to help storm victims tarp roofs, remove ruined belongings from homes, clear debris and mud, and remove fallen trees. Visit its website to sign up and learn more.

- Save the animals: The Humane Society is answering calls of displaced dogs, cats and missing pets across New Jersey and New York. By donating to its disaster relief fund on its website, you can help bring animals home to their owners. The Humane Society has also set-up a directory of pet-friendly shelters for people without a place to stay with their animals too.

- Drop off blankets and winter gear: Several churches and local organizations are delivering blankets and cold weather gear (think scarves, coats and mittens) to the hardest hit boroughs in the city. Donate gently used items at Occupy Sandy distribution centers across the city or email OccupySandy@interoccupy.net to learn more about what you can give.

- Supply emergency food kits and personal hygiene items: World Vision is spearheading an effort to distribute food clean-up kits, packages of personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos and deodorant, and emergency food kits to those in need. Please visit www.worldvision.org to donate.

- Text The Salvation Army: A $10 donation will help feed a storm survivor for one day. Make it $30 and you can give a family of four one food box or an entire household cleanup kit that includes brooms, mops, buckets and all the necessary cleaning supplies to help clear debris and water. Up to $500 allows an entire Salvation Army mobile feeding unit to fully operate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for an entire day. Text the word “STORM” to 80888 and confirm your gift by simply responding “yes” once the text goes through.

Hurricane Sandy New York and New Jersey

A couple and their dog escape last week after Hurricane Sandy flooded lower Manhattan and parts of New Jersey (Photo Credit: Glamour Magazine)

- Donate to Brooklyn Community Foundation: The Brooklyn Community Foundation will administer donations made through the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, which will support community organizations providing relief to residents of this New York borough. The foundation started the fund by donating $100,000, and the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center and Forest City Ratner Companies (the arena developer) have each pledged $100,000 contributions. Donate here. Ph. 347-750-2310 Mail: Brooklyn Community Foundation, 45 Main St., Suite 409, Brooklyn, NY 11201

- Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is evaluating the impact of Sandy on the thousands of homes that have been lost because of fire, flooding and wind. Donations will provide resources to assess the current damage and develop plans for affordable housing in those areas. Donate here. Ph. 800-HABITAT (422-4828)

- Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City: Donations made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will support immediate needs, including distribution centers in the city where people can get food, water, blankets and hygiene supplies. One hundred percent of the funds will go to relief efforts and organizations. The fund will also go toward long-term restoration. Find out how to donate here. Call 212-788-7794 or text the word NYCFUND to 50555 to donate $10 by text message. Make checks payable to Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and send to 253 Broadway, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10007 (in memo line: Hurricane Sandy Relief).

- Help the Children: In response to Sandy, Save the Children is focusing on the needs of children in shelters in New York and New Jersey. Working with other disaster-relief organizations, Save the Children distributes hygiene kits, warm clothing, blankets, baby cribs and baby food. The organization also sets up areas where kids can play and recover from emotional distress in the shelters. Phone: 800-728-3843. Text the word HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 by text-message. Makes checks payable to Save the Children and send to 54 Wilton Rd., Westport, CT 06880.

Any size donation and gift will make a difference, and there are countless ways to give your time, resources and money through worthwhile organizations committed to rebuilding New York City and New Jersey. Together, we will get through this!

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