Downtown Brooklyn

How To Help: Community Clean-Ups And More

October 31, 2012 Heather Chin
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Now that we’ve had a chance to survey the damage and take stock of what needs to be done to get our streets, homes, and neighborhoods back up and running, it is time for the community clean-ups.

Here is a list of volunteer opportunities in Brooklyn. This list will be updated as we find more events.


  • Contact shelters directly for volunteer needs. Most evacuation shelters need volunteers today for eight hour shifts and, in some cases, clothing donations. Find a nearby shelter at:
  • State Senator Daniel Squadron advises that people email [email protected] with your name, email address, and borough to volunteer in the coming days.
  • You could also submit your information at this online volunteer form and wait to be contacted about where your energies  are most needed.
  • (UPDATE: 4:40 p.m., 10/31, from Councilmember Brad Lander):
    Please donate financially to help Masbia provide hot meals at Park Slope Armory: Yesterday, the Park Slope Armory got more than 500 evacuees from Adult Care Homes in flooded parts of the city. Everyone who is staying there needs special attention, including elderly people and many people with physical or mental disabilities. People came in cold, wet, and hungry – and the Armory had only limited cold food for them to eat. I put out a call to the wonderful Masbia soup kitchen, who cooked and delivered enough hot meals for everyone at the shelter. For people in wet socks who can’t go home, you can imagine how important that was. I’ve asked him to do the same thing this evening, but it is a big expenditure for this small non-profit, so I am hoping we can raise some funds to help Masbia cover its costs.


News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

  • Wednesday, 10/31, 9 a.m. – Staff and volunteers from the Red Hook Justice Center will be meeting in front of the building at 88 Visitation Place between Richards and Van Brunt Streets) to help with clean up in the neighborhood.
  • Saturday, 11/2-3, 10 a.m. – Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition
    This Saturday and Sunday we hope to clean out all the trash and debris. This includes much of the sheet rock as well as anything destroyed. If anyone has a portable generator, long extension cords, or work lights, we would like to borrow them. If you are picking up your art work this weekend, please dress appropriately, and plan on spending a couple of hours helping with cleanup. Anyone and everyone is needed for this effort. RSVP/questions: [email protected]
  • In general – The Red Hook Initiative at 767 Hicks St. and West 9th St. is organizing volunteer efforts and assisting residents and volunteers. “RHI is OPEN. We are fine and have electricity. Come charge phones and use computers. Volunteer headquarters for relief efforts in the neighborhood. Send able bodies or let us know if you are a home/business in need.”
  • In general – Added Value and the Red Hook Community Farm experienced a lot of storm damage. Contact 718.855.5531 or for info on how to help.


  • powerHouse Arena Bookstore will be holding a #SandyHatesBooks book recovery fundraiser on Saturday, 11/17, from Noon to 8 p.m.
    If you’d like to help us rebuild and restock and can donate a small amount, your assistance will be dearly appreciated, and we will think of something very nice to do in honoring and celebrating your contribution.


  • Congregation Beth Elohim needs volunteers to help prepare meals for shelter residents over the coming days! On Thursday, 11/1, they fed 600 people.
    “We have raised over $1,000 to cover the cost of meals and supplies to local shelters but we are still in need of $5,000 to cover the rest of the week. Click here to donate and choose our “Chesed” fund. Sign up for volunteer shifts! Anyone over the age of 9 is eligible to volunteer. Feel free to sign up for more than one shift and to forward this to your friends: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

    Here are available shifts:

    Friday Lunch Preparation (11/2)

    8-9am – 10 people

    9-10am – 35 people

    10-11am – 60 people

    11:15am – Van and 1 volunteer to deliver lunch the Armory

    Saturday Lunch Preparation (11/3)

    8-9am – 10 people

    9-10am – 35 people

    10-11am – 60 people

    11:15am – Van and 1 volunteer to deliver lunch the Armory

    Saturday Dinner Preparation (11/3)

    3-4:30pm – 60 people

    4:30-6pm – 60 people

    6pm- Van and 1 volunteer to deliver lunch the Armory

    Sunday Lunch Preparation (11/4)

    8-9am – 10 people

    9-10am – 35 people

    10-11am – 60 people

    11:15am – Van and 1 volunteer to deliver lunch the Armory

    Runner of supplies to Redhook (check the end of the sign-up sheet for this)

    We also have a drive for candles, batteries, flashlights, water, non-perishables for Red Hook shelters. Drop off bins are outside our building. We are in need of two cars per day to take these supplies to the shelters.

    A few important notes about volunteering

    If possible, we are asking all volunteers to bring:

    • A loaf of white bread (or another equally chewable bread)
    • A dozen hard-boiled eggs in shell. For an easy explanation on hard-boiling eggs and how to enable peeling later, click here.
    • NYC health codes require that all those with long hair tie their hair back and that everyone covers their head with either a hat or a scarf.
    • If you have a serrated knife to spare, feel free to bring it. We ask that you label it with tape to make sure it is returned to you.

    Click here to sign up to make food!



  • The New York Blood Center has lost approximately 4500 units of blood due to cancellations. The Brooklyn Donor Center opens TODAY at 120 Lawrence St..

Thurs., 11/1 – 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat., 11/3 – 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sun, 11/4 0 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


  • All city parks remain closed. However, many will begin volunteer recruitment and fundraising to help cover costs of clean-up and repair.
    Help The Park: For anyone interested in volunteering with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to aid in the clean up and recovery of Prospect Park this Friday-Sunday, 11/2-11/4, sign up here.
    The Prospect Park Alliance will be dedicating the funds raised at their Saturday, 11/3, Walk-A-Thon to their storm damage repair fund. So come out and run, donate, or volunteer to restore the park you love!
    Make a Walkathon Donation  & Register for the Walkathon or Support a Walker
    “I’m sad to report that the damage is widespread and significant,” wrote the Alliance. “Hundreds of trees have been destroyed or severely damaged, paths and roads are blocked, light poles, signs and fencing have been knocked over, and Prospect Park Lake was blown over its banks on the southeast side.
    • Wednesday, 10/31, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
      We will concentrate our efforts on the perimeters of the park, cleaning up debris left over from flood waters. Work will take place near Main Street from 9am-12pm and on Pier 6 from 2-5pm. Please wear water-resistant shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and bring brooms, rakes, and gloves if you have them. Please rsvp to [email protected]
  • CARROLL PARK: Although they saw damage from felled trees, the park, at Smith and President Streets, is Parks Department responsibility and workers reportedly surveyed the area on Tuesday, stating that it will be taken care of.
  • MCCARREN PARK: The Parks Department is seeking cleanup volunteers. Sign up here.


  • The Food Bank for NYC supplies 400,000 meals a day to New Yorkers in need and is putting out a call, saying “You can help. Donate. Advocate. Volunteer.” Find out how at
  • The Brooklyn Spectator and Home Reporter will be collecting non-perishable food items and coats for the victims of Hurricane Sandy living in Breezy Point, Belle Harbor and the Rockaways.
    Besides storm surges and flooding, over 100 homes burned to the ground.
    Items can be dropped off at our offices, 8723 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. We are working to have more drop-off points throughout Brooklyn, as well.
    For more information, or if you have a business and are interested in hosting a drop-box, call us at 718-238-6600.
  • The Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce have launched the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, where 100% of every donation to the Fund will be used to support storm recovery efforts in Brooklyn. In response to several inquiries from residents and local businesses. Donate at



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