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Volunteers help clean up New York City after Hurricane Sandy. (Scott Houston / Corbis)

Kids Help Hurricane Recovery

People across America are aiding victims of Hurricane Sandy—here’s how you can help too

By Andrew Liang | November 21 , 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there is a lot of work to be done.

When the devastating superstorm hit the northeastern United States three weeks ago, it left behind massive and catastrophic damage. New York and New Jersey got the worst of Sandy. More than 70 people were killed, millions were without power, and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Rebuilding what was lost or ruined will cost tens of billions of dollars.

Since the storm, many different organizations have stepped in to help in the recovery effort. One of the largest involved is the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross opened 20 shelters in the hardest-hit areas of New York and New Jersey. These shelters have provided beds, food, and emotional support to nearly 2,700 people affected by the storm, according to Reuben Brown, the media relations specialist at the Metro Atlanta chapter of the American Red Cross.

The organization has also raised more than $140 million for its disaster relief efforts. Raising money is important for the Red Cross to do its work. But to help out as many people as it can, the Red Cross also relies on volunteers.

"Ninety percent of those Red Cross workers are volunteers," Brown told Scholastic News. "We have more than 5,800 Red Cross workers from all 50 states. Teachers, nurses, paralegals, accountants, and lawyers are among our ranks. They take time out to help people who've been really impacted by this horrible storm."

With a relief effort as big as this one, the Red Cross can't work alone. It is part of a large network of organizations, small and large, going into communities to help people devastated by the storm.

Local organizations like religious groups and community centers have been a huge help to recovery workers. These organizations typically have close ties to their communities, and they know where help is most needed.

One of the other groups helping out is the Southern Baptist Convention. It has prepared thousands of meals that will be distributed by the Red Cross. They will be handed out by volunteers to residents living in hard-hit areas.

Student volunteers from schools and colleges across the country have also been helping. Many have sent donations of food and clothes to groups assisting those in need. In the Northeast, students have helped distribute donations in shelters or door-to-door in communities still without heat or electricity.

HOW CAN MY FAMILY HELP?

The Red Cross relies on donations to help them serve people affected by disasters. You can find out how to donate by visiting the Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. "Whether their donation is large or small, [you] can rest assured that it's going to go to help the people impacted by this unprecedented historic storm," Brown said.

But there are different ways to help the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort too. Other national organizations, like the United Way, are also accepting donations. If you live in the New York area, you can find ways for your family to help on the New York Cares website. Various local efforts are also being made across the country.

If you know of any charities helping storm victims or any relief efforts happening in your community, share them with us on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps blog!

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