By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Whether it is the National Guard and FEMA officials delivering bottles of water, volunteers cleaning up Brooklyn Bridge Park, or people donating money online, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is offering plenty of opportunities for people who want to help out in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Borough President’s Office and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce are in the process of establishing the Brooklyn Recovery Fund. The fund will aid the Brooklyn communities and organizations impacted by Hurricane Sandy and will provide direct support for needs identified by local non-profits, small businesses and civic institutions.
Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber said, “The outpouring of concern from our communities in the wake of this monstrous storm confirmed the need for us to establish a locally focused fund to benefit the tireless Brooklyn organizations and agencies that serve our neighbors each day.
“This fund will not only cover the costs of keeping services going 24/7, but will help rebuild organizations nearly wiped out by Sandy,” she said. More details on the fund are expected today.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has set up a resource guide for businesses across the borough in places that suffered damage following Hurricane Sandy. The chamber is also offering temporary workspaces to those displaced by the storm.
"The Chamber has created a resource guide with all the vital information and phone numbers businesses need to contact in order to get assistance and emergency loans," said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Chamber.
"If chamber members need help filling out applications, please do not hesitate to come to our offices or call us. Together we can help businesses rebuild bigger and better than before and continue to make Brooklyn the wonderful place we all know it is," Scissura said.
The National Guard and officials from FEMA are now in the metropolitan area, and has delivered bottles of water, food and emergency supplies to people who are most in need in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
Borough President Marty Markowitz, who recently joined these agencies at a food giveaway in Brighton Beach, has called for an increased National Guard presence in those Brooklyn areas hardest hit by the storm, such as Coney Island, Sea Gate, Brighton Beach itself, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Red Hook and DUMBO.
Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz reminded business owners and residents in affected areas that they may be eligible for FEMA grants, thanks to President Obama’s declaring the metropolitan area a disaster zone.
FEMA officials are now assessing the damage on the ground. For FEMA Individual Assistance Grants, people can call (800) 621-3362 or register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
Many Brooklyn institutions have relied upon the services of volunteers in the past few days, and in many cases, volunteers may still be needed. Volunteers have helped out in Brooklyn Bridge Park, in Prospect Park, and in the Park Slope Armory (which is now housing a shelter that is housing at least 100 people), among other places.
Residents and friends of the Red Hook community, which was severely battered by the storm, have set up a site, redhook.recovers.org, which lists volunteer opportunities and gives visitors the opportunity to donate. It also gives residents who have a problem to tell volunteers about their needs.