If you want to help those hurt by Superstorm Sandy

UPDATED at 4:40 p.m. The bus to Staten Island is full. A NYSUT truck will be picking up supplies at 8 a.m. at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown.

And you are available this Saturday, get on a bus. At least one bus leaves from the Schoharie High School at 6 a.m. So far about 40 members from locals as far north as Glens Falls have signed up. Many of the members are from the Foothills Area of the Mohawk region, which was devastated by Tropical Storm Irene last August. You might recall how the United Federation of Teachers reached out to help the Schoharie region last October. Here’s another report.

Well now, members of the UFT and the communities they live in and the schools where they teach are hurting. Here’s a link to a message from UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Superstorm Sandy largely spared upstate, and now it’s time to give back to them.

The bus will return between 7 and 8 p.m. Wear work clothes, gloves and sturdy boots. It is unknown right now exactly what members will be doing, but they will be working on Staten Island, which was hardest hit.

I know this is late notice. But if you can go, call me at (800) 342-9810 ext. 6283, or text me at (518) 469-9140 or email to bsandber@nysutmail.org or comment on the blog. There are about 15 seats left on one bus and there is talk about getting another.

If you can’t make it Saturday, but still have time to volunteer, don’t drive yourself, because the on-the-ground report I have heard is the gas crisis continues and is very real.
“The last thing we need are more cars down here,” said Jonathan Rubin, a labor relations specialist out of NYSUT’s Suffolk Regional Office. He suggests, taking trains into New York City and help out in relief centers spread out throughout the boroughs  There are hubs setup to assist in the complexes that area still habitable.  The Q line, for example, will take you right to Coney Island and the R to Bay Ridge.
Be prepared, Rubin says because “this is Katrina-like complete devastation in these areas. No one is sending pictures or writing chronicles because everyone is just so weary of it all. Those still without power are fed up. Those with power are just worn out.”

There’s another way to help. Give to NYSUT’s Disaster Relief Fund. Pete Lanzo works out of NYSUT’s Nassau Regional Office. He notes “many people and members have lost everything and the basic supplies such as food, clothing and shelter are essential. The real hardships facing our folks on Long Island are heat, power, drinking water (many locations in Nassau do not have potable water), gasoline for generators and other fuel sources like firewood and kerosene.”

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