Mitzvah Storming: Be the hands of God for Victims of Sandy

Mitzvah Storming Part 3

a. Invite People In. Convince those home shivering in the remaining affected PA, NY, NJ, New England, etc. areas to come to you if they can or otherwise get out of the cold. I’m just off the phone with the Red Cross and those sticking it out are lowering core temperature, losing good judgment. Urge them to go  shelters, drive to friends, huddle with neighbors. Go pick them up if feasible and they can’t get to you.

b. Join our Mitzvah Storming Work Parties The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is in league with ReclaimingJudaism.org, collecting names of those willing to join work parties when the federal and state agencies give a green light. We will quickly partner with other non-profits, when they become able to move into action. NJ State and FEMA are still not allowing residents to return to homes in Atlantic City.

Assessments of what is needed in affected areas are still underway. We’re grouping responses by state and country (some have responded from as far as Canada! Thank you!) When other national organizations get their lower Manhattan servers above water, we will quickly connect these lists to their efforts.

More ideas after the jump.
c. Storm Food, Insulin, Ice and Maybe Fuel. Many write that gasoline is sold out where the power is out, store shelves are empty and now they can’t forage long distances to find markets with food. Watch the media, if you have access to find out where this is true, go shopping and bring food if the roads are open.  

d. Give blood wherever you live, supply channels will get it to those affected. Also, Red Cross is very stretched with food packets: fund them and offer to help make more. Network on Facebook, like I do, to find others in similar areas, join together to bring a supply caravan.

e. Double Down on Winter Coat, Glove, Hat and Sweater Drive Donations. There are going to be vastly more homeless folks for quite a long time. Do you really need more than one winter coat? Go through the closet and get started. Find the local depot and post it to your Facebook, synagogue lists, etc. with this note please.

f. Donate:

g. Big Wheels: Get your organization/synagogue to buy tanker shares and send in fuel. If you trust yourself to do this safely, network to see who with a generator now has no fuel. Carbon footprint becomes a secondary concern to the mitzvah of pikuakh nefesh, saving lives. Pneumonia is a serious problem as folks shiver and shake. Have this option in place for future disasters – we need more advance disaster tikkun olam prep in place, it seems.

h. Remember your ambivalence about internet phone services? We were right to be concerned. Among those without power, we’ve learned some still have old-fashioned phone lines-please scan your phone lists and those of organizations to reach out to people to reduce isolation. It’s not a trivial matter; social service experts are very concerned about those already depressed being further isolated by the storm. Knock on doors, don’t assume.

i.  Lament, vent, then, when your soul can do it, express the good but don’t be dragged to the good by well-intentioned people who don’t understand trauma. Reduce the potential for acute stress reaction to turn into PTSD, create conference call and local minyan sharing forums to speak about what this has been like for you – empty out so that you can refill with spirit.

j. Take in a new round of guests who stuck it out and now need TLC. Discuss how to help with your children and grandchildren – have them call relatives and classmates in affected areas, invite them to come and stay with you, if you haven’t yet. They have tried to stick it out – that may be getting very old. We are finding those who were doing so are ready for our guest room and some TLC. What’s your experience?

k. Give blood, run blood drives, everywhere you live, the Red Cross will channel it to where it needs to go.

l. Vote only for candidates and parties who get it – we are ONE— “it” being global warming, the need for carefully coordinated federal disaster programs, for quality American and world-wide environmental planning, healthcare and education — all that. Why have I not, heretofore, focused on global warming initiatives? Clearly one first cares for the wounded in front of us, pikuakh nefesh in the here and now is the Jewish action directive first principle for disasters. And by the way — have you signed up for a Mitzvah Storming work party? [email protected]? Or are you better abled to donate a winter coat? Make a donation via all the national calls for funds now emerging?  

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