Last month I left for a brief trip back east. It was supposed to be brief. I planned to visit family, attend a friend’s wedding, head up to Vermont to see some college buddies, and watch my girlfriend break three hours in the New York City IMG Marathon. All things that I thought were going to be easy given the amount of time I had.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think a single storm would alter my plans, ruin friend’s lives, and change the place of some of my fondest childhood memories forever.
October 29th till just this past Saturday, my family was without power. 13 days seemed like eternity but thankfully we had hot water and there wasn’t a tree through our house, a boat washed up on our front lawn, a backed up toilet bowl, or seven feet of raw sewage in our home. We were lucky, very, very lucky. Other friends and family were not.
The two day, monster storm claimed at least 41 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage in New York state. One of the hardest hit areas was the Rockaways in Queens, a beachfront community where almost half of the houses burned in a fire after the storm. My father, Queens County Bar Association President Joseph Risi, setup a pro-Bono law service outpost to help families with insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home repair contracts and consumer protection issues. I went with him. The stench of open sewage and smoldering debris was overwhelming.
Many WildSnow readers feel like extended family to me. We can join together as backcountry skiers, recreationalists, outdoor enthusiasts, gear obsessed (sometimes), and the fortunate, to help victims of Hurricane Sandy on their road to recovery.
Thousands of people have lost everything. As temperatures dipped into the upper 20’s last week and almost a foot of snow fell, many huddled in front of 55 gallon drums burning trash from their homes to stay warm. These were not the images news stations were airing.
Clothing donations are coming in, but a lot of it is summer clothes. Coats, jackets, thermals, and warm hats is what they need.
If you’ve just bought a sweet new Marmot NeoShell jacket or the latest Arc’teryx jacket, I urge you to consider donating your old jacket to a program like the New York Cares program.
You can ship your jacket, thermals, or hats to New York Cares. I’ve checked them out and they’re a legit charity that’ll get your donations to those in need as quickly as possible:
ATTN: The New York Cares Coat Drive
157 West 31st Street, Basement 2
New York, NY 10001
If your company would like to send jackets or other winter centric items to NY Cares please contact Lia Papazoglou at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you cannot send anything, consider making a financial contribution to NY Cares. Visit NY Cares Coat Drive Financial Support
Many people still need a significant amount of help rebuilding but a basic need to keep warm should not be one of their worries.
The images below are from a few trips to the Rockaways in Queens and Long Beach over the last two weeks. Block after block of destruction was everywhere. Many residents have fled and most homes won’t have power for months.
Please consider making a donation to help those less fortunate in a time of need.
Joseph Risi was raised on pasta and meatballs in the “backwoods” of Long Island before seeking higher education in the mountains of Vermont. Always looking for adventure, building treehouses, working too many odd jobs around the world he now lives in the Aspen area of Colorado.