Millions Raised for Hurricane Sandy Relief But Many Still In Need

November 5, 2012  |  

Sandy relief volunteers at work in New York. Image: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)

NBCUniversal’s telethon “Coming Together,” which aired on Friday, raised about $23 million for the American Red Cross, the company says. Besides the previously reported guests — Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera and Billy Joel among them — celebrity guests included Mary J. Blige and Tina Fey. We’re happy to report that this isn’t the only charitable effort out there.

Gothamist has a roundup of things happening if you’re in the New York area. The New York Times has a list of places where you can donate money if you’re not in the region.

Disney and ABC have also partnered with the American Red Cross to raise money for the effort. As of about 1pm this afternoon, they’d raised about $9.25 million, including $3 million from Samsung. (The New York Yankees, U-Haul, and Home Depot are among some of the other companies that have donated millions of dollars to help.) For more info about how you can participate with that, click here.

While there are many uplifting stories about people pitching in, donations pouring in and life slowly getting back to normal in some areas, there are also disturbing stories about people who are still in dire need with supplies running low and temperatures dropping. ICYMI, there’s this story from the Times this weekend discussing the scary circumstances that people living in New York’s public housing system face, from a lack of water to crime at the hands of disgusting opportunists.

Digging a little deeper, a follow-up story discusses the belief among some victims that relief is coming to people based on socioeconomic status.

“Around the city, particularly in places already sensitive to the afterthought status conveyed in the Manhattan-centric characterization ‘outer boroughs,’ the accusations of neglect seemed colored by a growing belief that the recovery from Hurricane Sandy has cleaved along predictable class lines,” The Times writes.

Sadly, it goes without saying that those with money, those places that are centrally-located and the parts of town that are deemed “more important” (usually based on their economic importance) do get the most attention first in situations like these. Many years ago when New York City suffered a blackout, for instance, I lived in the Financial District of downtown Manhattan and promptly regained power the following morning while places in Queens and other parts of the city suffered much longer.

Infrastructure has been a hindrance. In some cases, relief organizations says they literally can’t get to the people who need it. But we need to make sure to continue to maintain a focus on the many thousands who continue to struggle to pull their lives back together, and work quickly to get them the basics they require. They need us and we must answer the call.

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