Hurricane Sandy arrived right on schedule last week, flooding entire cities, destroying homes, and leaving millions without power. Natural disasters, even the ones we know are coming, often leave communities feeling isolated, and sometimes abandoned.
As the mainstream media focuses on Hurricane Sandy's devastation and attempts to politicize the response, something amazing is happening: People are sharing with each other. In a time when many might feel inclined to wallow in self-pity, or hoard what they have in the face of uncertainty, inidivuals are instead opening up, giving away what little they have, and standing strong for their communities.
We've been watching the social networks and news blogs for examples of ordinary individuals and organizations engaging in extraordinary acts of sharing in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath. Below are a few of our favorites, and we'll update this post as we find more.
- November 9th, Sidecar donates all proceeds from this weekend to Hurricane Sandy efforts. From their announcement, "SideCar will donate all proceeds, in both San Francisco and Seattle, from this weekend (November 9-11) to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy via the American Red Cross. The standard 80% of rider donations this weekend will still go to drivers, but the entire 20% we normally receive from each ride will go toward helping our friends and loved ones on the East Coast get through this difficult time."
- November 7th, Airbnb says it's time to help each other. Mayor Bloomberg announced a partnership between the City of New York and Airbnb to connect people who need a place to stay with those who can provide it…for free. If you need a place to crash or have one to offer, check here. This is an ingenious use of Airbnb's platform and a huge help to those recovering. It also shows another way the sharing economy increases a city's resilience.
Not to mention that can't hurt Airbnb's brand or their relationship with a city government that's scrutinized them because of the regulatory gray area the service operates in, though I doubt this is the motivation for opening up their platform. Unfortunately, there are better ways to influence politicians, like campaign contributions. I hope Airbnb repeats this for future natural disasters. That would be amazing. And good on Airbnb if it helps them grow. The sharing economy is a win-win economy.
- Power-sharing in Hoboken, NJ
via Sean Eldridge/Facebook
- Christie’s Reaches Out to Downtown Artists/Galleries. Sara Friedlander, Associate Vice President, Head of First Open at Christie’s in New York, says that the auction house would like to offer a helping hand to New York City artists or galleries who may need help. “We believe the art world is an ecosystem and what is happening downtown effects uptown,” she says.
Friedlander is arranging space at Christie’s for artists to use their laptops and charge their phones, and may be able to assist galleries with storage space for their art. Those interested, please call (212) 468-7177.
- Sometimes it's what we don't do…
New York City Government distributes items for basic needs. Even though they've arrested people for doing the same thing in the past, the city will be distributing food and water at sites throughout the blackout zone. The sites that will open at 3 p.m. south of 14th Street are as follows:
- 10th Street between Avenues C and D
- Catherine Street between Monroe and Cherry Streets (Smith Houses)
- Pitt and Houston Streets
- Grand and Clinton Streets — water only
- Bowery and Division Street (Confucius Plaza)
- Uber Waive Fees in Affected Area. Uber waived fees and is paying drivers "surge pricing" while only charging regular fares to customers.
- Rescue Jet-Ski. A resident assists in rescue efforts with his jet ski as emergency personnel rescue residents from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
via Hurricane Sandy Acts of Kindness Facebook Page
- Competing Wireless Providers Share Networks. TheNextWeb reports that "in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy along the Northeastern part of the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile have announced that they will be sharing networks in order to get people connected once again."
- Free Public Transportation. New York's transit system has announced free bus transportation as the underground metro system faces unprecedented repairs in the wake of the storm. Check this site for all transit info.
- Impromptu Lending Libraries and Pop-Up Restaurants. TIME reports: Ben Schneider, who runs the Asian-crossover bistro Good Fork in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, has a table set up on the sidewalk from which he’s providing his neighbors and volunteers free coffee and bagels, as well as serving as a clearing house for generators, pumps and other vital equipment being shared along the street. “Red Hook is like a small town,” says Schneider. “It’s natural that we want to help each other and get through this together.”
- Tech Community/Coworking Spaces Open Their Doors. Deskmag writes: In the light of Hurricane Sandy disabling much of lower manhattan and NYC's water front, this is a map of NY Tech community helping each other out. A listing of spaces where you can work, recharge, and reconnect to your tech community. Add your space to the "Sandy Coworking" map here.
Free Gas for New Yorkers. Military refueling trucks in NYC and LI. There will be a 10 gallon limit per vehicle. Share this with your fellow New Yorkers! Locations they will be at:
- In Staten Island: 321 Manor Road
- In Long Island: 63 Babylon Turnpike Freeport, NY
- In Brooklyn: 1579 Bedford Ave.
- In Bronx: 10 West 195th St.
- In Queens,: 93-05 160th St in Jamaica
Trucks are being deployed through the morning and will be available all day.
- 11-Year-Old Starts Pop-Up Internet Café To Benefit Red Cross. According to Mashable, Hoboken resident Lucy Walkowiak established a pop-up Internet café and charging station in front of her home to let dozens of neighbors charge their electronics and get an Internet connection to the outside world.
- Free Medical Care For All. Dr. Dave Ores, a general practicioner in NYC opened his doors to Sandy survivors, providing no charge medical care for those in need (too bad that's not his every day policy!)
If you know of similar acts of kindness happening in the affected areas, including other countries, please leave a description or link in the comments. Instead of focusing on what's been lost, let's celebrate what can be gained when we open our hearts and doors to the world.