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Occupy Sandy Starts Amazon Wedding Registry to Help Hurricane Victims

November 14, 2012

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew – Occupy Sandy Distribution Hub in Clinton Hill

Headquartered in Clinton Hill, a new volunteer group called “Occupy Sandy” has utilized the popular retail web site Amazon to allow generous people to donate “wedding gifts” to the victims of the disaster left behind by Hurricane Sandy a little over two weeks ago.
So far donations made through Amazon’s wedding registry have allowed Occupy Sandy to amass seven truckloads of gifts valued at about $650,000 to aid the people whose possessions, and in many cases homes have been completely destroyed.

“The response is overwhelming,” said organizer Amy Weng. “Donations are being made by people all over the country.”

Another one of the organizers, Damien Crisp explained the goal of Occupy Sandy:

“We are coordinating direct aid to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy,” he said.

What Occupy Sandy’s volunteers walk through the neighborhoods most severely hit by the storm and discover what items are most sorely needed. They are going door to door in Staten Island, the Rockaways, Long Island and Coney Island and taking inventory. Then the requested items  are noted and sent to the communications center at the various distribution hubs. At these command centers computer-savvy volunteers send messages to Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and phone to potential donors and to the general public. They also post the requested items to Amazon’s Occupy Sandy wedding registry, making it possible for anyone in the world with a computer and an internet connection to purchase something which will then be given to the person making the request.

When the items arrive at the hub they are  unloaded and brought by volunteer drivers to the places where the requests were made.

“It may look like chaos,” said Weng. “But it is organized chaos.”

There are 12 to 13 distribution hubs located around New York, but the hub in Clinton Hill has turned into the unofficial center of activity, mainly thanks to Reverends Michael Sniffen and Christopher Ballard, who have given over the use of The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew for the volunteers’ use.

“They have been amazing,” Weng said.

This past Monday over 200 volunteers worked ceaselessly to load, sort and distribute truckloads of packages in the church. Other volunteers cooked hot meals or made sandwiches to bring to Sandy’s victims.

“We are sending out anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 meals a day,” Crisp said with pride.

Occupy Sandy currently needs blankets, flashlights, AAA batteries, gallon Ziploc bags, cleaning hardware, brooms, flat shovels, mops, masks, gloves, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, any sort of baby/toddler food and formula, duct and scotch tape, toiletries and can openers.

If you would like to purchase any of these items through Occupy Sandy’s wedding registry, visit their website.

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