As a former part-time resident of a shore community, I watched the disaster Hurricane Sandy wrought with a heavy heart. As Sandy was happening, and the initial reports of incredible, unprecedented damages started coming in, I was across the country. My reaction to the devastation was compounded knowing there wasn’t much of a tangible impact I could make from 2400 miles away. I’m a very “hands-on” person, and wanted so badly to be able to be a part of the field response, so I could make a real difference for the communities and people that were forever altered as a result of this historic storm.
Luckily for me, since the disaster I have had the wonderful opportunity to get involved in on-the-ground response efforts, first as a park ranger, and now as an AmeriCorps member at Pass it Along. There are still so many relief projects that are in the works—even now, over 100 days since the storm, there are still people whose homes have not yet been gutted for flood damage, or who are living without heat in their homes. There are parks, shorelines and other wild places still full of debris, relegated to the bottom of the priority list as people dealt with losing their homes, businesses, transportation, and in some cases, their livelihoods. Getting back to “normal” is an incredibly daunting task, one that can only be achieved with LOTS of external support and assistance.
There is still so much to be done, and many people and places that need our—your—help! As part of its commitment to be a continual force for good, Pass it Along will schedule projects for hurricane relief throughout 2013. The estimated recovery timetable for Sandy is in excess of seven years. Won’t you be a part of the solution? Check out the events PIA has coming up, and support a cause that continues to be top-of-mind for thousands as they rebuild their homes, their businesses, and their lives.
This month, we’re headed to Long Beach Island for a park cleanup on the 23rd. We’re facilitating a corporate group’s community service day at a cleanup site in March, and we’ve already committed to providing as much manpower as we can muster for a massive beach sweep as one of our Global Youth Service Day initiatives in April. More projects will be posted as they become available.
I’m continually keeping my ear to the ground for appropriate opportunities for our youth volunteers, and welcome input from the Pass it Along crowd if anyone else hears of other projects or events that would be a good fit for our volunteer base. Please don’t hesitate to call the office or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you come across something. I’m looking forward to hearing from you all, and I’ll see you out there!
-Written by Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate.