Friday, November 2, 2012

From DEMOCRACY NOW!:

Another area of New York City hit hard by Superstorm Sandy is Chinatown in the southeastern section of Manhattan, where many businesses remain shuttered and residents are still without power, some of them stranded on high floors of apartment buildings. The group CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities has been leading a relief effort, with volunteers distributing supplies and canvassing buildings. Hundreds of people lined up Thursday to receive sandwiches, rice, water, batteries and other forms of assistance. We get a report from Democracy Now!’s Amy Littlefield, who interviews residents, and we speak with Helena Wong, executive director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, about the storm’s impact as well as issues of gentrification in Chinatown. For full post, click here.

Today, over 100 individuals showed up with food and volunteered with us.  We were able to charge the phones of over 230 people and provide essentials to another 700+ more.  Lines for supplies went around the block continuously throughout the day, and the collective cost of donations people brought in ranged in the thousands of dollars.  We were able to hit hundreds of apartment buildings checking in on elders and families.  (See photos here.)

Today, we showed that the power of community can hold us together even through the toughest of times and it was done with lots of love, laughter, and hard work.

Today, it was clear that even if City leaders do not acknowledge the work that we have done, we know we reached the people who needed it.

Again, a heartfelt thank you. Over the past 48 hours, CAAAV has been overwhelmed by the generosity of all our volunteers and supporters.  We didn’t have time to collect the names of the people who dropped off carloads of donations and the individuals who came throughout the day to go into buildings, give out donations, and make sandwiches for people.

FEMA and other emergency services finally showed up and have begun their work in Chinatown.  They are providing food and water to people the same way we have been doing the past two days.

However, Chinatown and Lower East Side residents (along with Rockways and Red Hook) are still in need.  In order to not duplicate work, we will shift our strategy tomorrow to focus on bringing all your donations to people directly in the buildings.  One tenant has walked up over 40 flights of stairs three times in the last two days to visit his family member.  Another resident told us they were cold last night and tonight is even colder. Thanks to the folks who climbed up and down pitch-black stairwells, we now have a list of residents who need help.

And we will need your help.  Bring your walking shoes.  Bring your language skills. Bring yourselves and your friends. And bring the following if you can:
  • batteries (AA, AAA, D)
  • flashlights
  • water
  • food (Ensure for the elderly, other stuff that doesn’t require electricity to heat up, people really are not picky!)
  • blankets
  • handwipes, sanitary napkins, etc.

This is the gameplan for tomorrow.  We will:

  • charge up to 500 phones if we get the generators that have been promised to us
  • make sandwiches and other foods until it runs out
  • deliver food, water, and supplies prioritizing the elderly, the disabled, and people who are having a hard time moving around

So come and help out anytime between 10am-5pm.  We have a role for you, promise. Just come.

If you have questions, you can email justice@caaav.org.  And of course, if you haven’t already, please consider a donation at http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1838&amount=&designategift2=.

Thanks,
Helena

Thursday, November 1, 2012
MANY THANKS to all the individuals who dropped off food, canvassed, brought supplies and worked with us all day to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.  Over 500 residents from Chinatown and the Lower East Side came to our office to get their phones charged, to get food and supplies, and most importantly to get INFORMATION.
This is the state of where things are at:
1) We have not scratched the surface of people’s needs.  Today outreach volunteers reported back to us that folks in public housing had no water and no electricity.  The ones who could do it were filling up water from a broken hydrant and walking it up over 10 flights of stairs.  Hundreds of tenants were able to get some donations, but they were going out the door as fast as they were coming in.  We will not be able to sustain this level of need.
2) Everyone is coming to us in the community. We had folks from the City-run evacuation center at Seward Park come to us asking for supplies.  The 7th precinct had our sign on their front door and their front desk were directing people to us.  At the same time other officers from the 7th precinct TRIED TO SHUT US DOWN.
3) Where is the leadership of this City?  Where is FEMA? We were told on Wall Street the lights are on in all the buildings, and Christmas lights are on in the streets.  It was clear where the priority is when the community next door has not been prioritized.  Today was another day where there was no information given out and City officials were nowhere to be seen.

This is what we need immediately:
1) Donations. Specifically— food, water, flashlights, batteries (AA, AAA, D).  We could use another generator and power outlets for people to charge things.
2) Volunteers. To help with outreach, distribution of supplies, and organizing/moving people.  We anticipate more than double the amount of people to come through tomorrow. We’re also getting specific requests to check up on seniors and would like to be able to do that if possible.  (Note: If you plan on coming through you will not have much ability to use your cellphone.  Maybe texts, but not much else.)
3) Take action. Demand that the leaders of this City take responsibility for Chinatown/Lower East Side and other still impacted communities.  Stop putting people over profits.  The people of our communities deserve just as much attention as Wall Street and Times Square. 
And of course, we can always use financial donations.  Just today alone, CAAAV staff and volunteers used hundreds of dollars of our own money to buy flashlights and batteries. Please consider making a donation at http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1838&amount=&designategift2=.
If you have any questions or want to support, reach out to us at justice@caaav.org.  We are trying to get back to people as soon as we can, but we’re most likely able to respond after 8pm when we can get to a place with cell service. The best thing you can do is just come down and bring stuff/people with you.

MANY THANKS to all the individuals who dropped off food, canvassed, brought supplies and worked with us all day to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.  Over 500 residents from Chinatown and the Lower East Side came to our office to get their phones charged, to get food and supplies, and most importantly to get INFORMATION.

This is the state of where things are at:
1) We have not scratched the surface of people’s needs.  Today outreach volunteers reported back to us that folks in public housing had no water and no electricity.  The ones who could do it were filling up water from a broken hydrant and walking it up over 10 flights of stairs.  Hundreds of tenants were able to get some donations, but they were going out the door as fast as they were coming in.  We will not be able to sustain this level of need.
2) Everyone is coming to us in the community. We had folks from the City-run evacuation center at Seward Park come to us asking for supplies.  The 7th precinct had our sign on their front door and their front desk were directing people to us.  At the same time other officers from the 7th precinct TRIED TO SHUT US DOWN.
3) Where is the leadership of this City?  Where is FEMA? We were told on Wall Street the lights are on in all the buildings, and Christmas lights are on in the streets.  It was clear where the priority is when the community next door has not been prioritized.  Today was another day where there was no information given out and City officials were nowhere to be seen.


This is what we need immediately:
1) Donations. Specifically— food, water, flashlights, batteries (AA, AAA, D).  We could use another generator and power outlets for people to charge things.
2) Volunteers. To help with outreach, distribution of supplies, and organizing/moving people.  We anticipate more than double the amount of people to come through tomorrow. We’re also getting specific requests to check up on seniors and would like to be able to do that if possible.  (Note: If you plan on coming through you will not have much ability to use your cellphone.  Maybe texts, but not much else.)
3) Take action. Demand that the leaders of this City take responsibility for Chinatown/Lower East Side and other still impacted communities.  Stop putting people over profits.  The people of our communities deserve just as much attention as Wall Street and Times Square.
 

And of course, we can always use financial donations.  Just today alone, CAAAV staff and volunteers used hundreds of dollars of our own money to buy flashlights and batteries. Please consider making a donation at http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1838&amount=&designategift2=.

If you have any questions or want to support, reach out to us at justice@caaav.org.  We are trying to get back to people as soon as we can, but we’re most likely able to respond after 8pm when we can get to a place with cell service. The best thing you can do is just come down and bring stuff/people with you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Tuesday, October 30, 2012
[image: Inline image 5] Photo from the corner of Allen Street and Canal Street 10/30/2012
CAAAV directs much-needed relief to Chinatown Residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy
Until electricity is restored CAAAV will be open from 10am-5pm each day to receive the following donations:
- flashlights
- batteries
- food (perishable and non-perishable)
- bottled water
Update from today’s assessment in Chinatown:
Two things of most importance:
1) There is no information getting into Chinatown. While the tenants were able to get newspapers mid-day, the news was obviously not up to date. No one is able to make cell phone calls, there is no internet, and no tv. Some people who can, are able to send texts, but almost everyone had used up the battery on their phones. They have no idea how long the electricity will be gone for. They have no idea when the trains will work again. There was no one giving out information, and it was clear there was no place to get information.
2) There are no services. No one has generators running so there is no backup of anything. There are buildings where there are tenants with no water at all. In the public housing, water was shut off, and there are still a significant number of residents still inside. They’re fine otherwise, but could use some water.
If you are available to help out any day, let us know by emailing justice@caaav.org!

[image: Inline image 5] Photo from the corner of Allen Street and Canal Street 10/30/2012

CAAAV directs much-needed relief to Chinatown Residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Until electricity is restored CAAAV will be open from 10am-5pm each day to receive the following donations:

- flashlights

- batteries

- food (perishable and non-perishable)

- bottled water

Update from today’s assessment in Chinatown:

Two things of most importance:

1) There is no information getting into Chinatown. While the tenants were able to get newspapers mid-day, the news was obviously not up to date. No one is able to make cell phone calls, there is no internet, and no tv. Some people who can, are able to send texts, but almost everyone had used up the battery on their phones. They have no idea how long the electricity will be gone for. They have no idea when the trains will work again. There was no one giving out information, and it was clear there was no place to get information.

2) There are no services. No one has generators running so there is no backup of anything. There are buildings where there are tenants with no water at all. In the public housing, water was shut off, and there are still a significant number of residents still inside. They’re fine otherwise, but could use some water.

If you are available to help out any day, let us know by emailing justice@caaav.org!