By Alice Kenny
Driven in on flatbed trucks, dropped off from backpacks and carted in on wagons, donations for Sandy survivors began arriving in Staten Island after Super Storm destroyed nearly everything in its wake.
As donors pulled in, many making their first visit ever to this island floating between Brooklyn and Bayonne, they faced the same key question. Where could donations be safely stored so they would be disbursed quickly to those most in need?
Catholic Charities stepped forward immediately to offer its cavernous gym at Mission of the Immaculate Virgin Mount Loretto in Staten Island. Now serving as a makeshift warehouse and distribution center organized and staffed by Catholic Charities, the gym is stocked with heaters, dehumidifiers, tools and supplies. Most resources are limited as donated stock can change daily.
The donation center illustrates yet another support system cobbled together by social service and government agencies, corporations and private donors to help Sandy survivors rebuild their homes and lives.
“What’s available today may be gone by tomorrow,” says Catholic Charities Community Development Coordinator Lourdes Ferrer. “With Disaster Case Management things are constantly evolving.”
Statewide, more than 5,000 of Sandy survivors receive disaster case management services. Managed by Catholic Charities, the New York State Disaster Case Management Program whittles down the complex system of disaster support by providing survivors with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources.
Catholic Charities hired two full-time staff members to oversee the donation center and ensure fair distribution of its wares. The agency also partnered with other Staten Island bases organizations to assure that all residents affect by Sandy, have access to the donated items and materials.
“When disasters happen, people just want everything fixed so they can get back to life as it was, but sometimes that’s not possible; sometimes there are no quick fixes,” Ms. Ferrer says. “Disaster case managers play a very important and difficult role in the recovery process. They have to maintain people’s confidence and keep them calm while walking them through a recovery process that can take years.”
- If you were affected by Superstorm Sandy or know someone who was, contact your Case Manager to access needed materials.
- If you do not have a case manager, contact the Sandy Referral Line at 855-258-0483.