How to help the victims of Hurricane Irene
Numerous Capital Region organizations are offering ways to help the victims of Hurricane Irene. Here is a sampling of places to go to donate money, goods or your time:
Radio station WAMC will conduct a special fund drive from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, opening up the phone banks to raise support for Tropical Storm Irene relief. All proceeds will be divided among the Red Cross chapters serving the hardest-hit regions in WAMC's listening area.
The fund drive will be followed on Friday by a special benefit concert, headlined by Happy Traum and John Sebastian, which starts at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast live from The Linda, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, before a live audience. Tickets will be available during Tuesday's on-air fund drive with a pledge of $100 a pair. Any tickets remaining after the drive will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis, with all proceeds going to benefit the Red Cross.
Five Capital Region organizations are sponsoring a food drive to assist area residents affected by Hurricane Irene and flooding over the past several weeks. The sponsors are United Way of the Greater Capital Region, Proctors, the City Mission of Schenectady, The Daily Gazette and Hannaford Supermarkets.
Project Hope regional food and supplies drive will be held through Sept. 25 at these locations:
* United Way of the Greater Capital Region, One United Way, Albany.
* Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady.
* City Mission of Schenectady, 425 Hamilton St., Schenectady.
* Mohawk Honda, 175 Freemans Bridge Road, Glenville.
* Hilton Garden Inn Troy, 235 Hoosick St., Troy.
Acceptable items are: Non-perishable food and canned goods, laundry and dish detergent, bottled water, diapers and baby wipes, baby food, gift cards, paper towels and children’s DVDs. Project Hope cannot accept used clothing, toys or stuffed animals.
United Way has established a dedicated fund to take donations for charities and volunteer agencies assisting with recovery efforts in storm-damaged communities. One hundred percent of donations will go to relief efforts.
United Way will work with other statewide charitable partners, such as Catholic Charities, United Jewish Appeal, Red Cross, the Food Bank Association, the Community Action Association and others, in the Hurricane Irene Storm Recovery Fund.
Susan K. Hager, president and CEO of United Way of New York State, said the storm hit just as families with school-aged children were preparing for the start of a new school year. She said people can contribute goods rather than funds by contacting charitable organizations in their areas for more information. To donate, visit www.governor.ny.gov/laborforyourneighbor.
Food bank donations
Financial donations are needed to assist the Regional Food Bank with the cost of shipping and handling food collected to aid flood victims. Donations can be made by visiting the food bank's website at www.regionalfoodbank.net, clicking the "Donate Now" button, and selecting "Hurricane Relief" in the program description box; by sending a check referencing Hurricane Relief to the Regional Food Bank, 965 Albany-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110; or by texting "RFB" to 20222 to make an immediate $5 donation. Donations of food can be dropped off at the Regional Food Bank or any Sunmark Federal Credit Union branch.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Albany will sponsor a food drive to aid victims of Hurricane Irene. Church officials are asking parishioners and others for 10 pounds of canned goods, dry food products and household goods each Sunday during the food drive. The collected food and dry goods will be delivered to church food pantries in Schoharie , Greene, Albany and Schenectady counties, as well as two churches in Bennington and Brattleboro. The items will be delivered by Oct. 1.
Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard is asking parishes in the diocese to provide assistance to people affected by Hurricane Irene. He asked that a special collection be taken at Mass to "meet the emergency needs of our neighbors."
Checks to support the relief effort can be sent to Catholic Charities, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY 12203. Donations also may be made online at the Catholic Charities website, http://www.ccrcda.org.
The Salvation Army is accepting donations for relief efforts at: www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by texting the word "STORM" to 80888 to make a $10 donation through a mobile phone. For more information, go to http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/, www.facebook.com/salvationarmyusa or www.twitter.com/salvationarmyus.
The Salvation Army is operating six mobile feeding canteens in flood-ravaged areas, including Schenectady and Schoharie counties. It is continuing to provide free meals to people at the Montgomery County shelter in Amsterdam and the Schenectady High School shelter in Schenectady. Through donations from Walmart, it has sent two semi-truckloads of drinking water to Essex and Schenectady counties, where floodwaters and power outages have contaminated local supplies. It also operates a warehouse in the Schenectady area to accept, manage and distribute donations.
Help for Pets
The Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville is accepting donations to assist owners of pets displaced by the flood in Schoharie County. The foundation is seeking dry and canned dog and cat food, cat litter and disposable cat litter pans.
Donations can be dropped off at 53 Maple Ave. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
"We cannot take in animals, but we are compiling a list of foster homes to handle requests from people who are asking us for help ," said Marguerite Pearson, APF director of communications. "We haven't come up with any displaced animals, other than a couple of animals. Fortunately, that does not seem to be a big problem."
* The City Mission of Schenectady, 425 Hamilton St., is collecting items for shelters in Schoharie County. Items include pet food and supplies, perishable food, such as fruit and milk, and laundry detergent and dish soap. When dropping off donations, label items that are specifically for flood victims. Call 346-2275 for more information.
* Schoharie County Community Action Program is accepting housewares, food, clothing and other items to assist flood victims in the area. The donations have to be new. They may be dropped off at Head Start on Lark Street. SCCAP also has set up a separate account for monetary donations. Any items going to SCCAP can be dropped off next to Dollar General in the old movie/video rental store.
* New clothing for flood victims can be dropped off at Movie Gallery, 813 East Main St, Cobleskill. Used clothing can be dropped off at Stella Motors, Unit 52, 142 MacArthur Ave., Cobleskill. Movie Gallery is also accepting toy donations.
* New York FarmNet is collecting donations to assist farmers hard-hit in the flood areas, including Schoharie County. Send donations to NY FarmNet, 415 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801. To learn more about New York FarmNet, visit its website at www.nyfarmnet.org.
* Schoharie Central School is accepting donations of school supplies.
* The Esperance Elks Lodge at 111 Main St. in Esperance is working with the Red Cross to take donations of clothes, bath essentials, cleaning supplies and school supplies. For directions, call the lodge at 875-6200.
* Duanesburg Central School is collecting donations and WalMart gift cards to be used to help Duanesburg and Middleburgh students affected by the flood. The items will be used to purchase back- to -school clothing for students and other items. The school is also seeking school supply donations, such as lunch boxes and backpacks. Donations can be delivered to any of the school buildings. Checks should be made out to the DCS PTSO with "Flood Victims" written on the memo line. All monetary donations can be mailed or brought to any of the school buildings. The school is also looking for information on any Duanesburg students and their families who need help .
* Schalmont Central School District is accepting donations to help local families, staff members and businesses. Donations will be accepted at Woestina Elementary School.
American Red Cross
- To make a $10 donation to the Red Cross in the Capital Region, visit www.redcrossneny.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999. The organization is also looking for blood donors and for volunteers to help homeowners assess damages.
- Price Chopper supermarkets are teaming with the Red Cross for its “Your Help Counts: Irene” campaign. Price Chopper will match up to $10,000 in donations received. Customers can donate by purchasing a window sign to show their support for those affected by the storm. Also, $1 from every fresh-made pizza sold through Labor Day will be donated to the Red Cross for disaster relief.
Regional Food Bank
- All Hannaford supermarkets in the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Hudson Valley and North Country are accepting customer donations at registers to be given to Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. The grocery chain already donated $14,000 worth of food and supplies to the food bank and is inviting residents to help as well.
Schoharie County Community Action Program
- The Schoharie County Community Action Program is accepting donations to its cleanup fund at the Bank of Richmondville. Checks can be sent to the Community Action program at 795 E. Main St., Suite 5, Cobleskill, NY 12043. Clothing and household items also are being collected, and volunteer help is needed.
Schalmont Central Schools
- Jefferson Elementary School will act as a collection point for the Rotterdam community. Donations of clothing, household items, cleaning supplies, toiletries, first-aid supplies and non-perishable food may be dropped off, as well as prepaid debit cards. Collections will be taken from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. or by appointment until school begins. All items will be packaged and given to families in need.
- The Capital Region’s Online Farmers’ Market is collecting donations through its website, www.farmiemarket.com. All funds will be given to the Regional Farm and Food Project to help farmers in the Mohawk-Hudson Valley Food Shed who were affected by Tropical Storm Irene pay bills and rebuild their businesses.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will open a Disaster Recovery Center today at Rotterdam Square Mall, 98 West Campbell Road. The center will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week to assist individuals, households and businesses that suffered damage from Hurricane Irene and the subsequent flooding.
The centers will be staffed with disaster-recovery specialists who can provide information and answer questions about storm-related assistance.
People can register for assistance as well by calling the FEMA Hotline at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. Applicants can also register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or with any PDA device at m.fema.gov.
Information needed when registering with FEMA includes the address of the damaged property, names of those living in the household, a general description of the damage, the Social Security number of any family member living in the home, the extent of insurance coverage and certain other information needed to expedite the process.
Also on hand at the Disaster Recovery Center will be representatives from the Small Business Administration who can explain the low-interest loan packages available to individuals, nonprofits and businesses of any size. These loans are for the repair or replacement of real estate and/or personal property damaged by the storm and related flooding, officials said.
People who register with FEMA will be sent a loan application from the SBA. No one is obligated to take out a loan, according to the SBA. Applicants have six months after approval to decide whether to accept the loan.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation, medical and dental, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. But applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement and moving and storage expenses.
* The United Way 2-1-1 Northeast Region has expanded referral services to help victims of Hurricane Irene and the flooding aftermath. By calling the center, people can locate services in 12 counties dealing with food, shelter, clothing, child care, crisis counseling, substance abuse issues, health resources, employment, financial and legal issues, physical and mental health needs, senior care, volunteer opportunities and more.
In the first days after the storm, the call center received an average of 100 calls per day or 10 times the usual number. The call center typically receives about 1,000 calls per month.
United Way 2-1-1 Northeast Region allows for the quick dissemination of crisis preparedness information, especially during times of natural disaster, and can enhance public safety and crisis recovery efforts. In times of disaster 2-1-1 works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help people access government information. The call center operates Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* BlueShield of Northeastern New York is helping subscribers evacuated and displaced by Hurricane Irene with obtaining prescription medications. "This is particularly urgent regarding mail order, since some of our members may no longer have a valid address," said Brian O'Grady, vice president. "Members will need to fill chronic medications at a local pharmacy during this time of disruption even if they have the mail order mandate in their policy. We will ensure that all such instances are covered."
BlueShield will be working with members' pharmacies and BlueShield's pharmacy benefits manager, Medco. Subscribers may contact BlueShield using the customer service number on their membership card.