In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought the tri-state area to a standstill. In the days and weeks that followed, even those of us who were able to stay in our homes struggled to make our way without many of the things that we took for granted: power, heat, gas, communications, the internet. As these things were restored to many of us in the days and weeks that followed, we saw photo after photo of the devastation the storm left behind. In Rockland, while most of us escaped with minimal damage, hundreds of families, particularly those in the river towns and North Rockland, lost everything.
Times like these test the mettle of a community, and Rockland County's non-profits, as well as many individuals and businesses, rose to the challenge:
- We at the Rockland Community Foundation activated a Community Crisis Relief Fund to provide grant assistance for non-profits and individuals. Active International and the Rockland Boulders began accepting emergency grant applications to their funds within the Foundation as well.
- Moved by the devastation in Stony Point and Haverstraw, the Rockland Young Dems established a fourth fund to provide local support: the North Rockland Disaster Recovery Fund.
- As word about the funds made its way into the press, individuals began making donations to these local recovery efforts.
- Among our non-profits, organizations including Meals on Wheels, People to People and many of our local food pantries escalated efforts to provide food and emergency clothing to those who lost everything. Our local schools rallied as well, collecting non-perishable food items, socks, gloves and coats. Provident Bank Park established a collection center for local donations of food and clothing.
- Local band 8th Grade Science organized a fund-raising show at the Old 76 House in Tappan. Those coming to see the show brought food and clothing that was donated to People to People, as well as cash donations to help support our Crisis Emergency Fund.
- Countless families whose power had been restored opened their homes to their neighbors still without, providing warm meals and hot showers that went a long way in making a difficult time more manageable.
- As we moved into December, we were still hearing about local families with no homes to go back to. As temperatures dropped, the Stony Point Center provided shelter for over 100 adults and children with no other place to go.
- Local businesses have also lent their support to the recovery efforts, with some foregoing their holiday parties and instead forwarding the money they would have spent on the event to the Crisis Relief Fund.
For most people and businesses in Rockland, Sandy is a bad memory. But for hundreds of residents and business owners, it is still very real. While we still have much work to do to help those who were the most affected, we can proudly say that during a time of crisis Rockland stood together as a community.
About the Community Cares Blog and the Rockland Community Foundation
The Community Cares Blog, hosted by the Rockland Community Foundation, celebrates the spirit of giving in our community. Each week, we will post a story of philanthropy or shine a spotlight on an activity that is making a difference in the lives of our neighbors. We invite Rockland non-profits, individuals and businesses to contribute to the Community Cares blog by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the umbrella charitable organization for the county, the Rockland Community Foundation is working to connect donors with the causes they care about most. Our grants support a wide range of interests and, with the support of Rockland residents and businesses, we are committed a path of growth that will enable us to help the non-profit community continue their vital work. You can learn more by visiting us at www.rocklandgives.org.