Occupy Sandy Donation Center (The Atlantic)
The devastation caused by “Super Storm Sandy” was shocking to everyone in the coastal Northeastern United States. It brought out thousands of volunteers from all over the region. Among those who responded rapidly were community groups and religious institutions. Organizers from Occupy Wall Street (OWS) began immediately after the storm to reach out to their vast electronic network and rapidly revamped itself into a relief network.
Doctors from Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY, especially residents who formed Doctors for the 99% to support OWS a year ago, activated their network and several Montefiore doctors, including DGH members, volunteered to go to hard-hit areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
On a sunny Sunday almost two weeks after the storm, three DGH physicians made our way to St. Jacobi’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. The church has made available all of its facilities to Occupy Sandy. As we arrived, a group of volunteers was standing on the sidewalk being oriented by a coordinator. Around the corner a long line of volunteers waited for rides to their assignments. The basement of the church was filled with donated food and blankets and dozens more volunteers sorting and packing. We registered (in true OWS fashion, online using our smartphones) and were assigned to a clinic in Rockaway Beach, Queens. Almost every house had been flooded; the block across the street from the “clinic” had completely burned down. One of us – an attending physician who could write prescriptions – was assigned to stay in the clinic and the two residents went off to follow up on homebound elderly residents of a housing project who had been without electricity, water and elevators for almost two weeks.
Our brief workday had to end before 5 p.m. when darkness would take over the area. We left amazed by the level of organization and the number of volunteers who came out to help. Our individual contributions seemed small considering the vast needs to be tackled, but we saw once again the value of solidarity.
Read more about the work being done by Occupy Sandy from these sources: