As there are lots of new people on this distribution list (which is great by the way) I will recap a little bit as to what the SI Sandy Relief Fund is and who we are.
Last Sunday a few of us who grew up together in Staten Island decided to volunteer in some of the areas of Staten Island that were hit hardest by the storm. We took our kids with us and headed down to the New Dorp/Great Kills area not really knowing what to expect nor exactly how we could help. We just assumed we would figure out when we got there how we could lend a hand. We were shocked by what we found. The neighborhood was destroyed. Houses were crushed and completely blown out. The streets were covered in mud and piled high with all sorts of trash and garbage littering the streets. There was no national guard – no red cross – no FEMA personnel –literally no one helping in this community other than volunteers like us going house to house helping people empty their houses of everything they had owned so that FEMA could come in and condemn their homes. It was really inspiring to see the local community out in full force helping one another but infuriating that they were doing so without the help of NYC/NYS or the US Government. I have attached few pictures we took while down there – there will be more photos on our facebook page when it is ready to be rolled out in the next few days.
Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes. Some of these people lost everything in the storm – their cars, clothes and all of their personal possessions. They are finding it very difficult to obtain any sort of immediate or meaningful relief from FEMA or other organizations and have been left in dire financial circumstances.
Our mission statement is to help identify families in Staten Island that have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy and provide them with immediate relief – shelter, food, clothing, transportation - the basic necessities. Through a variety of means we are working to get these families into apartments in Staten Island so that their children can get back into schools and the parents can get back to their jobs. Our objective is to get these people back on their feet so they can get back to life again. We are not trying to give them a better life – just the life they had before Sandy. Staten Islanders are a tough bunch – hard working people not used to taking a hand-out but we believe under the circumstances these people could really use a hand.
Thus far we have identified 5 families that our organization will provide assistance to (an example of one family are the Ostows – their bio is attached above). It is important to note that our Organization will not give money/cash to families in need. We will help the families obtain necessities; we will pay rent direct to landlords to get them started; we will buy a car to replace one that was lost – but we will not give cash to families. We perform due diligence on each family in need to ensure to the best of our abilities that they are truly in need of financial assistance. We have limitations on how much assistance can be provided to any one family and no family sponsored by our organization has any relationship with our board or executive officers. Our facebook page will lay out the specific criteria we consider when deciding whether to help a family and all criteria is consistent with the IRS mandated 501c3 guidelines.
Oh – one more things – none of us are being paid (in case anyone was wondering) – we are all doing this because we feel like we have the means to give something back to some families, have deep rooted connections to the Staten Island community and hope that someone would do the same for us if we were in their unfortunate position.
Many people have asked how they can contribute to our Organization and to what end any cash contributions will be used. There are a few ways that you can contribute:
1. Sponsor a family. We can introduce you to a family that we have identified and you can help them directly. You can identify their specific needs and our organization can help you to facilitate getting them back up on their feet. For instance, The Reinmann’s have very graciously sponsored the Warmbier family. The family lived in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island for the last 11 years until last Monday when they lost their home and all of their belongings to Hurricane Sandy). If you are interested in making a donation to help support the Warmbier’s please read the email below and reach out directly to Jessica Reinmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-612-6375. Just let me or Ian Neckin (email@example.com) know you want to sponsor a family and we will connect you asap.
2. Cash Contribution. You can make a cash contribution in two ways – You can send a check made payable to “SI Sandy Relief Fund”. All checks should be mailed to
SI Sandy Relief Fund
c/o Nadine Vaiana
215 Deepbrook Rd.
Wyckoff NJ 07481
Starting next week you will be able to make cash contributions directly on our facebook site. We expect to roll out the facebook site over the weekend or by Monday at the latest. You will see pictures and biographical information about each family that we are sponsoring on our site.
3. Amazon Wish Lists. Once the facebook site is up and running you will be able to make contributions by clicking on links set up for each family that has been identified by our organization that will take you to an amazon shopping cart. You will be able to obtain specific items for these families in much the same manner as you would for a bridal registry (they need everything – literally everything – sheets – a bed - cups – utensils – toasters - well you get the point).
I will send an email to everyone on this list as soon as the facebook page is up so that you can visit the page and get to know the families we are helping. I hope you made it this far because I recognize it is a long email but I am glad you did!
Thank you very much for your consideration.