Areas all across Southern Rhode Island felt the devastating force of Superstorm Sandy. Many businesses near to the shore closed their doors due to disrepair, while some residents were forced to flee for higher ground. Now, in the aftermath of such destruction, Rhode Islanders are encouraged to band together to rebuild and assist with the recovery process.
When the power goes out, as it did for many Rhode Island families, the first things to go are perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer. For this reason, the WARM Center, located in Westerly, is asking for Stop & Shop gift card donations. These donations will be given out to families in need of food recovery assistance due to loss of power. If interested, please call the Warm Center at 401-596-9276 or go to www.warmcenter.org.
To assist with connecting damaged businesses or homeowners with the appropriate repairmen, the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce is managing a referral system. All carpenters, electricians, painters, tree removers and other specialty trades are encouraged to contact the Chamber to receive a list of referrals needing such trade services. Businesses or homeowners not already on the referral list should also contact the Chamber, which can be reached at 401-364-3878 or at www.charlestownrichamber.com.
The actual repair of southern Rhode Island requires manpower, and it takes a special kind of person to dedicate time and sweat to putting back all the pieces of this broken puzzle. Many individuals have stepped forward to help, but Serve Rhode Island is still seeking volunteer help for clean-ups and other services. All interested parties should contact Bernie Beaudreau at 401-331-2298 or sign up at www.serverhodeisland.org.
Thanks to the digital abilities of Facebook, individuals across the state have come together to create a massive one-day clean-up event, happening on November 23. Called the Post Sandy Thanksgiving Cleanup, the event already includes over a hundred people willing to burn off their Thanksgiving meals by cleaning up areas affected by the storm. If interested, join the event’s page, where more details will be announced as the date approaches.
One of the areas hardest hit by the storm is Misquamicut Beach. Debris shut down streets. Flood water washed away walkways. Winds tore down telephone poles. In response, the Misquamicut Business Association established a relief fund to bring the beach and surrounding areas back to normal. All donations help local property owners, businesses and residents. Contributions can be made online at www.misquamicutrelieffund.com.
For some southern Rhode Island businesses, the financial damage from lost revenue far exceeds all resulting physical damage. To help these businesses stay afloat, the Greater Westerly Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce created the Jump Start Small Business Recovery Fund, which provides grants to businesses financially hurt by the storm. In addition to accepting donations, the fund is selling “Bring Back the Beach” t-shirts for $15, with $12 of that going to support the business community. Visit their website to purchase a t-shirt or make a donation.
Lastly, many Rhode Island Red Cross blood drives were canceled due to Superstorm Sandy, resulting in a loss of blood and platelet products. These blood donations are extremely important for individuals all across the state, especially for those injured during the storm. People eligible to give blood are asked to schedule a donation appointment by calling 1-800-733-2767 or visiting www.redcrossblood.org.