I'm in a bit of a funk. An appropriate funk, I'd say. This city? My city? It is suffering. And I am tucked away in a part of the city that was for all intents and purposes spared by Sandy which makes me feel, well, even weirder about things. It is strange to be here but to feel so far away from the true impact. I've felt this exact breed of malaise before - on 9/11. Now I'm not saying September 11th can be equated with Hurricane Sandy, but I am saying that as a New Yorker, a New Yorker who did not feel the devastation directly, I've been here before. In this spot of confusion, sadness, and paralysis.
I had a really odd experience yesterday. Our beloved Nanny insisted on making it in from Queens. She spent 2.5 hours en route and when she walked through our front door, she was attacked by little girl hugs. Needless to say, we were all happy that she and her family stayed safe during the storm and also happy that she is back here. I took advantage of her being here and stepped out for a bit - without my kids - something I hadn't done for almost a week. It felt odd. I hadn't eaten breakfast, so I popped by Energy Kitchen for an egg white omelet and as I was eating said omelet, I read an article called "Sandy's Forgotten" from the New Yorker on my phone, an article about how there are still many many people downtown who need help in Sandy's aftermath and aren't getting it. People who are stuck in their homes without access to food and water. I read this, and my stomach turned, and then I went to my exercise class at Physique 57.
This seemed wrong to me. That I was in my yoga pants and ponytail, unscathed, off to tone my body. It felt about as wrong as posting a party-planning bit here yesterday. But I did it; I went through with the class, body moving, but mind mangled with guilt, uncertainty, all of it. In the elevator after class, I stood with two other women. We all had our phones out, and we all joked about how hard class was, how sore we would be. And then I said something: It feels wrong to be here when there are people downtown stuck in their homes, suffering. I was met with utter silence. Neither woman looked at me, or said a thing. Each looked down at her phone. One continued to chat about sore muscles. It was like I hadn't said a thing.
Here's the thing: I don't think these women are bad people. I think they were probably thrown off by my comment. I think they were probably feeling many of the things I'm feeling. But, anyway, all of this conspired to make me come here and write these words, and this post. Again, it would feel wrong to do a regular frilly Friday Loves post today, so instead I bring you ADR Friday Loves, Hurricane Sandy edition. While the girls frolicked with Nanny yesterday afternoon, I sat yards away at the kitchen island researching ways all of us can do something to help in the aftermath of Sandy. I tried to include places to donate financially and places to volunteer physically, as well as more local and more national organizations. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start. To stay up-to-date on volunteer opportunities, follow the hashtag #sandyvolunteer on Twitter. It's worth noting that I got many of the ideas here from a very informative piece at Timeout New York.
At the end of the day, I think we are all good, well-meaning people and that often in the wake of major disasters, we feel emotionally and physically paralyzed and overwhelmed. I know I do. And so. I figured that I have all of you readers and that offering this compilation of resources/ideas is in many ways the least I can do.
And in case you're interested, I am very sore today. But it feels good to be so sore. I plan to go back to Physique 57 class today. After Hurricane Sandy snacking and raiding my girls' Halloween candy, I'm feeling it... My goal is to get into tippety-top shape before the holidays. Anyone want to join me in these efforts? Amazing how swiftly I can go from so serious to so superficial, eh? Alas.
1. The American Red Cross.
If you are interested in volunteering, but don't know where to begin, click here to register as a volunteer with NYC Service. This is what I did. All you need to do is provide your name and address to create an account and then you will be able to tailor volunteer opportunities to your skills, interests and track your volunteer hours. Here is a list of emergency hurricane shelters in the area that might need volunteers. Also, you can follow @NYCService on Twitter to get updates on service/volunteer opportunities.
3. Food Bank for New York City.
For almost 30 years, Food Bank for New York City has been the city's most prominent hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. Click here to register as a Food Bank volunteer. Click here to donate funds to Food Bank.
4. The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army is currently serving Hurricane Sandy survivors and first responders in seven states with food, water, cleanup kits, emotional and spiritual care, and more. If you would like to support those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, please visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.
5. New York Blood Center.
If you are interested in donating blood, the New York Blood Center is accepting donations in the aftermath of the storm. Click here to find the latest information on Donor Location Centers near you (in New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley, New Jersey).
6. NYC Parks.
All NYC parks, playgrounds, beaches, and recreation centers remain closed until further notice due to hazardous conditions and the City of New York Parks and Recreation is looking for help in the aftermath of Sandy. Click to volunteer in parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens.
7. The Humane Society.
The Humane Society of the United States's Animal Rescue Team is on the ground in Monmouth County, N.J., and en route to Nassau County, N.Y., to provide critically needed animal sheltering assistance for families and their pets after Hurricane Sandy. The North Shore Animal League America is also participating in rescue efforts in the Long Island/ New York Metropolitan area; click here to make a donation.
How has Sandy affected you and yours, if at all? Do you ever feel paralyzed in the wake of disaster, natural or otherwise? Do you have any thoughts on my elevator encounter? Do you ever feel guilty or wrong for participating in more "superficial" activities when there are very "serious" things going on around you? If you have other good volunteer/donation ideas, please leave that information here. Oh, and am I the only one with some intense pre-holiday fitness goals?