College looks to Sandy relief

Areas of New York state are still coping with the destruction that Hurricane Sandy left in its wake on Oct. 29.

According to The New York Times, Sandy left more than 80 people dead in the United States and has caused upward of 60 deaths in the Caribbean.

According to the latest updates from Federal Emergency Management Agency, as of Nov. 3 more than 122,000 people registered for disaster assistance. Further, more than $107 million in assistance has been approved and allocated for certain areas.

“Hurricane Sandy left my family without power and clean water for five days,” sophomore Kristin Viceconte of Long Island, N.Y. said. “School has been out for over a week, and there were people lined up outside of the real estate office where my mom works looking for new homes, some not even wearing shoes.”

“My grandpa is staying in Florida for the next couple of weeks while water is getting pumped out of his basement,” said sophomore Janelle Marxhausen of Long Island. “His car is also ruined.”

Geneseo faculty shared similar stories.

“In Rhode Island, my parents lost part of my house; Their basement flooded,” Coordinator of Student Volunteerism and Service Learning Kay Fly said. “Beach condos are gone and restaurants are demolished.”

In conjunction with government organizations, many volunteers and nonprofit organizations are providing supplementary relief to Sandy victims. According to the government website for New York City, 100 percent of donations are being allocated for relief efforts and organizations.

The website also provides easy access to much-needed resources for the community. There are links to find food, water and blanket distribution locations, as well as disaster assistance services.

“This will be front page news for a while,” Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Tom Matthews said. “If you draw the parallel with [Hurricane Katrina], it was several months that the destruction was in the news, and then it began to fade away even though many people still needed help.”

Matthews has been leading Livingston CARES trips to Biloxi, Miss. for the past seven years to aid the relief efforts from Hurricane Katrina.

Unlike organizations such as the Red Cross, CARES is not well equipped or trained to provide immediate relief, said Matthews.

He said he is hopeful that Geneseo will be able to aid in recovery efforts.

“The first possibility of a work trip will be winter break. People have already volunteered for a March spring break trip and even one in May,” Matthews said.

“I don’t know what we will face [on our work trip],” he said. “It will all start to come together over the next few weeks.”

According to Matthews, student organizations already began fundraising, and he said he encourages these groups to contact Fly with ideas, adding that collaboration is equally important.

Matthews said he hopes that families, students and all members of the community will come together, donate and volunteer to rebuild the states that many of us call home.

“It’s been a very difficult week for many Geneseo families who are enduring the devastating outcomes of Hurricane Sandy along the Eastern Seaboard,” President Christopher Dahl said in an email to the Geneseo community. “If you or your family have been affected by the storm, the thoughts and prayers of the entire Geneseo community are with you as you face the daunting challenge of restoring lives and community.”