When Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast on October 29, 2012, the need was massive, the logistics complicated. Fortunately, Feeding America's Disaster Relief Program was already in place and able to mobilize quickly.
In total, Feeding America food banks distributed more than 20 million meals to people affected by the storm. Thanks to our generous partners, product donations specifically earmarked for Sandy filled 285 truckloads, all distributed to communities up and down the coast. Additionally, in fiscal year 2013, Feeding America raised more than $3.3 million in support of disaster relief and used the funds to meet the most pressing needs of the affected food banks to ensure they could continue to operate and feed millions of people following the storm.
Locally, Feeding America food banks in New York and New Jersey acted as first responders, providing food, water and supplies within 24 hours of the storm. Many of these food banks experienced damage themselves, but determined to help their neighbors, they overcame these challenges.
Community FoodBank of New Jersey distributed 5.2 million pounds of food and supplies within 10 days of the storm. Food Bank For New York City established 14 new delivery routes to reach the hardest hit areas. City Harvest in New York rented 19 trucks so they could continue to deliver food after their entire fleet was destroyed in the storm. The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey set up more than 150 temporary distribution sites to meet the people where they were. Island Harvest hit many hard to reach areas along the coast of Long Island with water and food.
As longstanding members of the communities hit by the storm, the local food banks and their partner agencies helped assess the need on the ground while providing hope and support to people in need.
In the months that followed, Feeding America was able to continue to provide for families as they endured the long road to recovery. Take Carmela, whose home was destroyed in the storm. For seven months, she lived in a hotel room with her two daughters, waiting for an insurance settlement.
Money was tight when Carmela came to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey one afternoon in June. Not knowing what else to do, she had walked six miles to the food bank from her motel room and was given a box of groceries for her family. In tears, she explained how grateful she was for this simple act of kindness. One of her daughters had just eaten their last bit of food, a bagel. Carmela had never thought she would be in a situation like this. "It's just so good to know that somebody does care that we eat," she said.
The Feeding America food banks that support the east coast have offered many people this same care. Providing millions of meals, offering small grants to families to replace appliances needed to cook and store food, giving families a safe place to come for a hot meal and so much more. As one Oceanside resident said in a letter to the Long Island Cares food bank, "We have suffered great losses, but have also been blessed by the great kindness of others in our time of need. Thank you for your kindness."
With expertise in logistics, volunteer management and emergency food distribution, and through the power of partnerships, the Feeding America network is uniquely suited to provide immediate support to individuals and families during disasters—and during the recovery that follows.Tags: Disaster Response