Sandy’s gone, but the volunteer opportunities aren’t

Sandy Red hook
Sandy came to Red Hook and made a hell of a mess. Photo by Craig Warga, via New York Daily News

A year after Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, many areas of New York and New Jersey are still struggling to rebuild. Many homeowners have been left to stop mid-renovation or to put off any efforts to rebuild due to insurance checks that have yet to arrive and FEMA assistance that was promised but never granted. Because of this, there are still plenty of programs in the New York area assisting families and neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy, all of which are seeking volunteers. Here are some programs nearby that will help you rake in some good karma and bring New York back to its feet.

Occupy Sandy

Occupy Sandy offers volunteer opportunities around the tri-state area, including a couple different opportunities to help the Rockaways, tell people’s stories, help out in Staten Island and help in New Jersey. To commemorate the first anniversary of Sandy, Occupy will host an event called Light the Shore at 7:45pm along the Shellbank Creek Shoreline in Gerritsen Beach. To learn more about volunteering with Occupy Sandy, shoot them an email at occupysandyvolunteers [at] or for live updates of volunteer opportunities text @occupysandy to 23559.

The American Red Cross

The Red Cross has a variety of opportunities to help. Just sign up and search through their portal for opportunities in rebuilding and aiding displaced residents.

Rebuilding Together NYC

Rebuilding Together NYC requires volunteers to fill out a survey in order to ensure that each volunteer is best matched with an area they are familiar with.

HOPE – Hope for New York

HOPE offers a variety of programs listed for volunteers to get involved and help in the Sandy relief effort. If you’re looking for something hands on, Resurrection Brooklyn Church is looking for volunteers who are willing to get down and dirty and help rebuild on Saturdays (November 2 and 16, December 7) from 9am to 4pm. For those of you who aren’t into the whole manual labor thing, Resurrection is seeking any donations that are construction related such as tools, supplies, and Home Depot gift cards.

sandy brooklyn
Who builds New York? We Build New York. via Facebook

We Build New York

We Build New York is a non-profit working to rebuild Sandy ravaged areas. The organization works as a partner of the St. Bernard Project that helped New Orleans rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. This rebuilding initiative doesn’t require volunteers to have any prior experience in construction, onsite training will be provided.  Contact info [at] for more information.

Clean Up Fort Tilden

The effort to clean up Tilden is still on despite summer being over, so if you’d like to volunteer, send an email to cleanupforttilden [at]

Brooklyn Community Services

Brooklyn Community Services is searching for volunteers to help in various ways to assist residents of the Coney Island area both in construction and in administrative work.

CARE for Sandy
An example of the retouching work by CARE

CARE (Cherished Albums Restoration Project) for Sandy

The photo restoration service has proven so popular with Sandy survivors that they’ve instituted a waitlist for new submissions. You can help clear out the backlog by volunteering to work on some pictures. If you don’t know how to retouch photos but know someone who does, encourage them to sign up, maybe buy them an ice cream cone or something.

NYC Service

Not sure in what way you want to help out? has a general registration form that will allow you to search through its database to find the opportunity that best fits you.

The BRIC House

Not a volunteer effort, but BRIC House is volunteering their time and space. For all you budding writers and storytellers, the BRIC House will be offering a free Hurricane Sandy writing workshop with the NY Writers Coalition followed by a storytelling event tonight at 6pm. To reserve your spot for the writing workshop email info [at]

Let’s hope by next year we’ve got this mess completelt cleaned up. If we missed any ways to help, shout them out in the comments section.

Follow Michelle on Twitter at @DFTBAMichelle

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