I’m blaming Sandy for the lack of updates on the blog. In all seriousness, I know it’s redundant to keep seeing all of the footage about the storm, but as a Jersey girl living here in the middle of it all, the surrealism of it all is slowly sinking in as reality, and it truly is devastating. It breaks my heart as more and more of the horrific damage is slowly being discovered and unraveled. Most of the state’s historic and iconic shore towns are now unrecognizable, hundreds of thousands are left homeless, and millions are still without power.
I’m starting to notice that the panic is starting to set in. With each and every passing hour, families are becoming more frustrated, and now even hostile towards one another. News story after news story, we are hearing outrageous reports of people getting into fist fights over the gas pumps, people franticly dumpster diving for food, and shamefully, looters are starting to emerge as the flood waters start to recede.
I personally have been without power since Monday night, but that’s the least of my worries. Fortunately, I have been welcomed with open arms at a friend’s house down in Trenton for some warmth and showers, but the more coastal cities are suffering the worst without much access to food, water, heat, and gas. It’s very hard to read tear-jerking emails from my friends and family members who report having lost EVERYTHING. My heart goes out to all that are affected.
Take a look at some of the devastating before and after photos that are circulating around, illustrating the damage from the storm.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though; the good news is that as we start to recover from the storm, there seems to be a strong and wide-spread sense of unity emerging throughout the northeast. Restaurants with power are offering free hot meals, health and fitness clubs are offering free showers and use of hot saunas, and even personal families are gladly welcoming in those in need. I’ve seen such a kind outreach from those in my community, and it truly does make my heart smile.
There even has been much kindness in the points and miles community. Aside from airline and hotel loyalty programs offering bonus miles with donations, I’ve seen several tweets from people offering their own personal hotel points and flight miles for families in need who need warm shelter or an escape out of town. That is truly incredible and selfless.
How You Can Help Too:
- If you live in an affected area, try volunteering at a shelter: That’s my plan today. Not only will I feel happy to help, but I can imagine it being a fun place to make new friends and help others smile during a tough time.
- Make a donation: The Wandering Aramean has compiled a great post about ways to earn miles by donating.
- Donate unneeded clothes, food, toys, electronics, and household items; many families are forced to rebuild their homes from scratch and would appreciate these items.
- If you’re unable to help finacially, do know that time and a warm heart is worth just as much, if not more: Offer to help victims with errands, babysit, provide a compassionate shoulder to lean on. Those things mean a lot to people in tough times.
- Most importantly, stay STRONG [Jersey Strong]. The power of community can accomplish great things, and we will get through this!