alternate worlds

Let me preface by saying that the girls and I are safe and sound. We were among the incredibly lucky that were spared the wrath this week’s weather cast on my hometown. New York and I have had a love-hate relationship the last few years, but home it is, and will always be regardless of how much it seems to wear me down at times.

And now, I stare blankly at my screen, not knowing exactly what to say.  There are so many people who were not spared, and the devastation isn’t that far away. I can’t really put any of my feelings into words, mostly because I’ve been stifling tears for the last few hours. I’ve spent today trying to do my part, and will continue to do the same tomorrow.

Today I want to leave you with two things to think about. First—if you’d like to help with relief efforts, here are some links to places you can donate time or money. Second—we’re reaching a time of year when donations tend to swell, and hearts tend to give way to wallets opening more than normal. But tragedy happens every second, of every minute, of every day. Poverty and hunger are issues that exist without Mother Nature throwing her weight around. Helping others doesn’t require a hurricane or other natural disaster. It just requires the willingness to help your fellow Americans, fellow human beings.

  • This article from the Huffington Post outlines places to donate blood in NYC.
  • Time Out New York did an excellent job compiling a variety of volunteer and donation opportunities to help with Hurricane Relief in NYC.
  • Red Hook, a community just a short walk from where I live, was hit very hard by Hurricane Sandy. Many of the families living there reside in public housing, and are without heat, hot water or electricity. When I went by today to drop off donations, I saw an elderly man’s eyes light up at the sight of bottled water to drink. Please think about donating to the Red Hook Initiative, a grassroots community organization that is providing hot food, water, clothing and other essentials we too often take for granted. The website understandably has not been updated with their current relief efforts, but know they are doing so much. I saw it with my own eyes just a few hours ago.
  • The Food Bank for New York City is accepting both donations and sign-ups for volunteer shifts.
  • If you know of someone in NYC affected by the hurricane and cannot get to them to help, the website has a list of the city’s Food and Water Distribution sites. Find the site nearest to them, and let them know the details since they may not have internet access.
  • Donate to, a soup kitchen in Park Slope that is currently helping feed more than 500 senior citizens at the Park Slope Armory that were displaced by the hurricane. This is in addition to the countless hungry New Yorkers they feed on a daily basis.
  • My friend Marisa shared a link to this group on Facebook which looks like a great source to find immediate volunteer and donation needs that will likely help the impacted communities quicker than any of the larger relief agencies.

Updates as of Sunday, November 3rd:

  • Want to help with a few key strokes? You can mail in supplies to:
    The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew
    520 Clinton Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11238Needs List (not clothing at this point):
    – blankets
    – batteries (Cs and Ds)

    – flashlights
    – candles and matches
    – non-perishable food
    – bottled water
    – diapers
  • Do you know someone who is making trips into the affected areas? Ask if you can ship supplies to them to deliver on your behalf.
  • Don’t underestimate the need for actual man power. The donations of supplies have been amazing, but the greatest call I’ve seen the last 24 hours is for people to help distribute them. The Occupy Sandy Relief (OSR) facebook group has been a great resource in up-to-the minute information about where and when help is needed.
  • Some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Brooklyn are getting the least attention/help from FEMA, the Red Cross and sadly our local government. These neighborhoods include Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay. The OSR group I mentioned above is an excellent resource to see what the immediate needs are in this neighborhood. The latest posting for Coney Island includes this:                                                                             Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York REALLY needs a LOT of help. Coney Island is in a terrible state and they need the following items:
    canned goods

    They REALLY need hot food to feed about 1500 people daily, MOSTLY SENIOR CITIZENS

    rubber boots
    toilet paper
    medication needs for seniors
    PLEASE CALL Pamela Harris, Executive Director of Coney Island Generation Gap, at 917-592-2719, or email her at if you can bring any of these items out there way, or volunteer some time. You can also mail material or monetary donations to Coney Island Generation Gap, 2904 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

This is just a preliminary list, and I will update it as I gather more sources. Please leave a comment with any volunteer or donation opportunities you know of for relief efforts in NYC and New Jersey, our neighbor state which as you probably know has suffered even greater.

I hope you are all safe and sound. Big hugs to all of you.


  • Denise

    Thanks for this great list – we have been wondering how we could help.

    And, thrilled to hear that you and the girls are okay. Sad to hear about rest of NY; makes my heart heavy. Stay strong New York!

  • Alison

    Thank you for this – it was just the kick in the butt I needed. Just stopped down at Red Hook Initiative with some donations, as they were serving dinner. The line wrapped around the block but it was warm inside and the food smelled amazing. Every little bit counts, it seems. Thanks again.

  • rachel alexander

    i was waiting for you to post to make sure you and the girls were alright. I am so glad to hear it. thanks for the info. my state went though a category 5 when I was 11 years old and even now when I am 34 the scars can still be seen. there are so many people that have been where you and your neighbors are now and we are here to return the grace and love shown too us all those years ago. thanks again for your wonderful words.

  • Maria in NJ

    jennie it is so sad here, everything is gone…our beaches are just gone, we still don’t know when we will be able to go back to work, it is just horrible…

  • Denise @ Jennie's Kitchen

    So glad you and the girls are okay! Living in South Florida, having gone through 3 major hurricanes in recent memory (with small children)….I know all too well the “no power, boil water, life in a war zone.” It’s no fun, but communities do rebuild and life gets back to normal. It certainly is hard to imagine when you are in the thick of it… prayers and heart have been with you, the girls and NY/NJ.

  • Tracey

    I am glad you and the girls are safe. Thank you for the information and places to donate, very helpful.
    My thoughts are with you and prayers of course, and with the many people that have suffered because of Sandy.
    Hugs and safety wishes,

  • Kathy

    Mercy Chefs are in the area now and need donations to keep their work going.
    My prayers to all of you.

  • Marianne

    Jennie, So glad you and the girls are safe, had you on our prayer list and of course keep you there always. Growing up along the Texas Gulf coast, I have been through many hurricanes, my husband died in hurricane Ike, I had gone to SC where my son was attending college. Anyway, I have sent donations and have taken a huge load of clothing and toiletry items to a church drop off location, they are sending volunteers to help as they do every emergency situation. I knit, as a hobby, luckily had many blankets, hats and scarfs made up as Christmas gifts, my friends and family will have to wait, but I know they won’t mind at all. Take care, hug those beautiful girls. I love NYC, it will rebuild and be even better!

  • Carolyn C.

    Thank you Jennie, for doing so much for the community. I live in Chicago and my good friend is in NYC, she works for Legal Aid and she spent some time last week volunteering with Red Hook Initiative – I asked her just yesterday where I could donate; where she thought they could use it most? And that’s where she told me to donate. I was able to easily donate online as well as obtain a mailing address to send a matching donor form from my company. So perhaps the did update some of the info, which is great.

    So glad you and the girls are safe, you will as always be in my thoughts and in my heart xo

  • Mary in NY

    Glad you & the girls are okay, was thinking of you. I hope all the folks have places to stay that are warm tonight. Just a sad situation. Mary in NY

  • Gill Dempster

    Hi Jennie, I have been following your blog for about a year so just wanted to send you a big hug from here in Aussie land on this difficult day. Shed as many tears as you need and want to, life sucks sometimes.