How to help in New York City after Hurricane Sandy

Find out where to volunteer in NYC, who to donate money to and how to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy, Gowanus

Hurricane Sandy, Gowanus Photograph: Amy Plitt

Good morning, New York. We hope you're all doing as okay as possible in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The next few days (and possibly weeks) are going to be rough for many New Yorkers—and for those who came out of the storm relatively unscathed, and want to help their fellow citizens, there are already ways to help. One thing you can do is keep tabs on the Twitter hashtags #sandyvolunteer and #sandyaid, as many people are using those to post needs and opportunities. We'll update you as we receive more information on volunteer opportunities; meanwhile, if you know of anything, please e-mail us at, or let us know in the comments. Stay safe.

Volunteering your time

Updated: Nov 9 at 5pm: It's now been nearly two weeks since Sandy hit NYC, and plenty of New Yorkers still need your help. Here's where you can volunteer this weekend:

The Park Slope Armory and Congregation Beth Elohim both have available volunteering spots for the weekend; click the links to check out what slots are left.

The folks behind Robicelli's Bakery are setting up a community kitchen in Bay Ridge, where a team will prep hot meals for Brooklynites affected by Sandy. Get the details on this Facebook page, and check out Bay Ridge Cares for more volunteering opportunities in that neighborhood.

The Museum of Modern Art is helping organize a trip to help with clean-up efforts in the Rockaways this weekend, where volunteers will assist with tasks such as organizing and distributing food, clearing out homes and more. Volunteers with special skills—such as plumbers, repairmen, and those with knowledge of insurance issues—are especially needed. If you'd like to participate, a bus will leave from 4 W 54th Street at 10am on Saturday; e-mail AIDFORROCKAWAY@GMAIL.COM to R.S.V.P.

Red Hook Initiative still needs volunteers to help with clean-up and food prep/distribution; sign up on their website for more information.

The Alliance for Coney Island launched #ConeyRecovers today; the initiative is dedicated to helping the Brooklyn neighborhood in the aftermath of the storm. Check the website for information on volunteer opportunities this weekend, as well as other ways to help.

Updated: Nov 3 at 1pm: More ways to help! The power is coming back to parts of the city, and subway service is slowly but surely getting back up and running—the 4, 5, 6 and 7 trains are now operational—so get out there and do some good.

Our Food & Drink team has compiled a few ways to help local bars and restaurants this weekend, including volunteering in Red Hook (where many businesses, such as Mile End deli, lost basically everything) and patronizing spots in lower Manhattan.

City Harvest is coordinating food delivery services to hard-hit areas in Staten Island and Coney Island, as well as providing food to shelters. You can contact them about volunteering, or simply donate to their Sandy relief fund. has compiled a list of ways to help out in Staten Island, be it through monetary donations, dropping off goods, or volunteering your time.

The city has opened warming centers throughout the five boroughs where those without power can go to escape the chilly temperatues.

City Council members Brad Lander (whose district includes Park Slope, Gowanus and Carroll Gardens) and Stephen Levin (who represents the 33rd district, including Dumbo, Greenpoint and Williamsburg) are updating their websites and Twitter feeds with information on how to help in the neighborhoods they cover.

Coney Island USA needs help cleaning up its flooded headquarters; if you're experienced with flood clean-up, they need assistance, but you can also donate cash.

Hoboken, New Jersey was also badly hit by the storm; check out these Hoboken Sandy Maps for information on how to help, power outages and more.

Updated Nov 2 at 5pm: More volunteer opportunities keep coming in for this weekend and beyond; here are some more things you can do:

Brooklyn Bridge Park is asking for volunteers to help clean up its Main Street section tomorrow (Nov 3) from 2 to 5pm. Click this link to register. The park has also put together a list of local organizations that need your help following the storm.

Build it Green needs volunteers to help clean up its Gowanus warehouse (69 9th St between Second Ave and Smith St, Gowanus, Brooklyn), which flooded during Hurricane Sandy. They'll be working from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday (Nov 3 and 4); check the organization's Facebook page for details.

Updated Nov 2 at 9:45am: As we head into the weekend, here are some things you can do to help with Sandy recovery efforts:

Galapagos Art Space (16 Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn) is looking for volunteers to help clean up its Dumbo venue today, beginning around 11am—they're hoping to reopen this weekend, and will need people to help with general cleaning projects.

Staten Island Recovers is tracking different relief projects in the borough, which was hit especially hard by the storm. Check the website to learn more about items needed for donations, food distribution, clean-up efforts and more.

The Brooklyn Brewery has detailed the volunteer efforts made by Brooklyn Kitchen and the Meat Hook to help out in the devastated Rockaways; check out this blog post for details on how to help and what donations are needed. has posted a list of food and water distribution locations for Friday, November 2; keep checking back for more locations over the weekend.

Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope needs volunteers this weekend to help out with preparing food and making deliveries throughout the area. Sign up here for one of several shifts on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

New York Tech Meetup is asking people with techie skills to register on their website for volunteering opportunities to help small businesses and other folks to get their websites and the like back up, post-Sandy. They've also listed coworking spaces where volunteers can meet to plan projects.

Clean Up Sheepshead Bay has posted several volunteer opportunities in the South Brooklyn neighborhood, including clean-up efforts on Saturday and initiatives to distribute food to those in need in the community.

Occupy Sandy Relief is tracking volunteer opportunities around the city, including efforts in Sunset Park, Chinatown, the Rockaways, the Lower East Side and more. You can find volunteer information along with donations needed for those sites and several more throughout the city, as well as New Jersey.

Staten Island borough president James Molinaro has listed drop-off locations in the borough where you can donate clothing, food, cleaning supplies, blankets and more.

The Bronx River Alliance needs volunteers on November 10 to replant trees in the borough. Here's the info from their website: "[J]oin us on November 10 as we plant 500 trees and shrubs along the river's banks in Shoelace Park, in an effort to replace the many damaged trees in this catastrophic storm. Contact Joseph Sanchez at or 718-430-4636."

Updated Nov 1 at 1:45pm: The NYC Parks Department has put out a call for volunteers at parks in four of the five boroughs; here are the locations and links to sign up:

Van Cortlandt Park
Orchard Beach           
Click here to volunteer in the Bronx
Prospect Park
McCarren Park
Click here to volunteer in Brooklyn
Happy Warrior Playground
Annunciation Park
Carl Schurz Park
Anne Loftus Playground (at Fort Tryon Park)
Randall’s Island (Friday and Saturday only)
Click here to volunteer in Manhattan
Queens (Friday and Saturday only)
Brookville Park
Baisley Pond Park
Click here to volunteer in Queens

The New York chapter of the American Red Cross requested volunteers prior to Hurrcane Sandy making landfall to help staff its shelters throughout the region. Find out if you meet their criteria and register at this American Red Cross web page, How to volunteer for Hurricane Sandy shelters. You can also learn more about donating blood through the organization.

City employees are expected to go into work today, but if you're unable to make it in—which is likely considering that mass transit and bridges are still closed—Mayor Bloomberg has asked you to donate your time at one of the city's evacuation shelters. You can find a full list at this webpage.

The Mayor's Office also recommends registering with NYC Service, which will notify people once volunteer opportunities are available. Per the organization's Facebook page: "There will be various ways to volunteer to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy - Want to Volunteer? Please email with your name, email address and borough. There will be ways to volunteer today and over the next week as opportunities arise."

New York Cares has no specific projects set up yet, but is asking anyone who is interested in helping out to sign up on their website, and they will notify you if there's a need for volunteers.

An organizing site, The Lower East Side Recovers, has been set up to track volunteer opportunities and needs in Lower Manhattan. Sign up to get updates and more information.

Members of Occupy NYC are using to track volunteer efforts in their communities—check out pages for Red Hook and Astoria. Occupy has also set up a Facebook page to coordinate its relief efforts throughout the city. (via the House of Yes)

Via Brooklyn Based, you can sign up with the New York Public Advocate's office—give a date and time that you're available, and they'll follow up if your assistance is needed.

Via Brokelyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park is looking for volunteers to help with clean-up on Wednesday (October 31). There are morning (9am–noon) or afternoon (2–5pm) shifts. E-mail to R.S.V.P.

Food Not Bombs is asking for assistance—both by in-person volunteering and with donations—for its chapters in the Northeast, including NYC, Boston and Philadelphia. (via the House of Yes)

Red Hook Initiative is keeping tabs on local businesses who need help in the wake of Sandy, be it with generators, manpower or other forms of assistance. The organization is also accepting donations at its Red Hook headquarters; follow the group's Twitter feed for up-to-date info on what they need (non-perishables, clothing, etc.)

The Food Bank for New York City is looking for volunteers—sign up on their website for more information.

Solar One sent out an e-mail blast earlier about volunteering to help clean up their space, which suffered significant damage during the storm. Here are the details: "We need volunteers to help us in the park this week to aid with all clean-up efforts. Our urgent need for volunteer help is for this Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3 from 10am-4pm. Please RSVP to so we'll know you're coming!" They're also accepting cash donations.

The Prospect Park Alliance is accepting donations to help fund the clean-up of the park, post-Sandy; you can also sign up to be a volunteer once the clean-up efforts begin.

Donating blood

The New York Blood Center (800-933-2566, is now open and is accepting blood donations. The organization has opened more donor locations throughout the city, and updates the list of spots each day on its website; check the website, or call the main hotline, for details.


Clothing donations and food drives

Updated Nov 9 at 5pm: Here's a list of places that will be accepting donations this weekend; unless otherwise specified, check the specific websites for what items they're looking for, as needs are constantly shifting.

Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is accepting donations during its open hours: Saturday noon–8pm, Sunday noon–6pm. More info can be found at this blog post.

Bar Sepia (234 Underhill Ave between Eastern Pkwy and Lincoln Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) will accept donations of winter clothing (coats, gloves, blankets), baby needs (wipes, food, formula), batteries, hand sanitizer and more tomorrow (November 10) from noon–6pm. Call 718-399-6680 or e-mail for more details.

Upper East Side pub Molly Pitcher's (1641 Second Ave between 85th and 86th Sts) is accepting donations this weekend (Nov 10 7am–5pm, Nov 11 7am–3pn); check out the Facebook page for the relief drive for details on what's needed.

Updated Nov 3 at 2:15pm: Many places throughout the city are accepting donations of items such as bottled water, diapers, warm clothing, batteries, non-perishable foods, feminine products and more, to be distributed to shelters and communities in need. If you're able, here are a few places that are accepting donations, and what they're looking for:

The City Reliquary Museum (370 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn): garbage bags, extension cords, blankets, gloves, and more.

Two Boots (514 2nd St between 7th and 8th Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn): garbage bags, diapers, gently used clothing, wet wipes, flashlights, batteries and more.

Rockaway Relief is keeping tabs on many shelters in the area that need donations; check out its Facebook page for more details and specific locations.

Occupy Sandy Relief remains an excellent source of information for donations needed at shelters throughout the city; check back frequently, or visit its Facebook and Twitter pages, for updates.

CAAAV in Chinatown will be open every day from 10am–5pm and is accepting food, flashlights, batteries and bottled water. They also need volunteers; check the website for more information.

Per a volunteer at the Park Slope Armory, today (11/1) they could really use donations of magazines and newspapers (things like People, the New York Post and the New York Daily News), as well as new women's underwear, size XL.

The NYC Mayor's Office is Tweeting locations where food and water will be distributed in NYC neighborhoods today (11/1), including Coney Island and Staten Island.

The Food Bank for NYC is also distributing pantry bags and hot meals from its Community Kitchen and Pantry of West Harlem (252 W 116th St between Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd [Seventh Ave] and Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave]); the center is open from 11:30am–5pm, and more details can be found at the Food Bank's website.

The Village Voice posted a link to food distribution centers in Red Hook for today, November 1.

Donating money

If you can't make it in person to volunteer, donate to any of these organizations:

The Food Bank for New York City (text FBNYC to 50555 to make a donation from your mobile device)
The American Red Cross
The Salvation Army
The Humane Society
North Shore Animal League
New York Cares (text iCARE to 85944 to donate $10 from your mobile device)
The Bowery Mission (text BOWERY to 20222 to make a donation from your mobile device)
The powerHouse Arena (the Dumbo shop was devastated; you can donate to help its clean-up and restocking efforts, and follow its progress on SandyHatesBooks)
The Seaport Museum (the institution's lobby, café and more were hit hard by the storm, although its fleet of historic ships came out intact)
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Bailey-Holt House (this center, which provides afforable housing for those living with HIV/AIDS, was flooded during the storm)
Gilt City New York will donate 30% of the profits from its sales through November 4 to the American Red Cross
Masbia (the organization is preparing meals for evacuees at the Park Slope Armory, and needs donations to continue its efforts)
Community Food Bank of New Jersey