Excitement at the opening of the new VNSNY Center!
As the skies darken and the wind picks up, those of us on the East Coast of the U.S. can’t help but have the unsettling feeling that hurricane season is setting in again. It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Sandy whipped along the Atlantic seaboard, leaving devastation and destruction in its wake, and even though most of the physical scars have healed, families are still trying to stitch together lives and livelihoods fragmented by the storm. But they aren’t alone, because they’ve had help from you. Some may have lost houses, others a family member, but throughout they’ve gotten support from a global community of friends they didn’t even know they had.
Thanks to the support of wonderful donors like you, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund at GlobalGiving has been able to support a variety of ongoing recovery and reconstruction projects.
Baby Buggy continues to provide clothing, food, school supplies, and furniture to support families that are still struggling with the loss of housing and employment in the wake of the storm. In their progress reports, Baby Buggy shared the story of the Davis family, who lost both their jobs and everything they owned when Sandy hit New York City. While searching for steady employment and housing, the Davis family stayed at a Brooklyn shelter for nearly two years, but commuted over an hour each way to bring their five children back to their old schools where the older kids could remain with their friends and their youngest could continue the special needs program he was enrolled in. While they were in the shelter, Baby Buggy was able to provide the Davis family with food, clothing, toiletries, and baby supplies, and helped them search for a new apartment – where they moved in this spring!
Baby Buggy has also helped a long-time partner, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), rebuild in the wake of the storm. VNSNY runs both an early head start program and a fatherhood program. When the VNSNY building was destroyed during the hurricane, teachers and administrators came to the site even in the loss of their own homes and goods to figure out how they could provide immediate relief to families in the area. With the help of Baby Buggy, VNSNY was able to provide essential goods to families in the area at the time, and now fifteen months later, open a new center where they can continue to provide social services. The silver lining to those storm clouds? The new center has room for VNSNY to serve even more families than before, as the old center only had room for 75 children and the new center has room for 185! Even in the wake of this terrible storm, we can see the unifying power of natural disasters as communities and nonprofits work together to provide relief and rebuild.
Hurricane Sandy wrecked more than homes and amusement parks: it also caused a huge spike in the cases of cholera in communities struck by the hurricane, as well as destroying the hospitals and medicines that allow doctors to fight the disease. This relief fund also supported two projects outside the United States – one in Haiti, and the other in Cuba – that are still supplying critical medical supplies to physicians trying to lessen the spread of the disease and care for afflicted patients. The Vice-Director of Global Link’s project in Cuba said in a recent project report, “The health care kits you sent us were invaluable.” She explained that all the hospitals they visited highlighted the importance of these kits, which, complete with gloves and face masks, allow doctors to care for patients without getting infected themselves or exacerbating the spread of the disease. She shared a story of a visit she undertook with a doctor to educate a remote community on disease prevention techniques, when they were asked to examine an old man thought to be suffering from cholera. The Vice-Director and the young doctor were many miles away from a nearby hospital, and while cholera patients cannot spare hours, the two couldn’t care or even examine the man without protective material. As they “stood outside the house pondering possibilities that would allow the doctor to enter the house without putting her life at risk,” the Vice-Director realized that she had a healthcare kit in the back of the car – which allowed the doctor to give care to the patient without contracting the disease herself.
So even while our skies darken and the wind picks up again, we can’t help but feel hopeful and thankful for all that light that has poured through these clouds thanks to donors like you. Because of you, those with cholera in Haiti and Cuba continue to receive help, and a new and improved family center was able to rise from the ashes of the previous one. Please consider continuing to support these projects as they provide support for communities still reeling from the effects of the storm, and we wish you a wonderful, safe end to your summer!
Members of the Davis family pick up pillows
Two years later, reconstruction continues in Cuba
Nurse uses healthcare kit to clean infected slides