So much to be thankful for

This holiday season has given us so much to be thankful for, it’s almost overwhelming. All of us have friends and families to thank, for both supporting our work and supporting our well-being in so many ways.

There have also been those who have surprised us: strangers who offered in-kind donations both to us and Occupy Sandy. Some have heard about our work, both strangers and friends, and have helped contribute monetary support to keep us going. Some have come by our job sites with bagged lunches to keep our volunteers well-fed while in the field. Some have offered up spaces in their living rooms to store tools until we could get them down to our work sites in affected areas. Some have donated tech skills and help with coordinating our databases. Some have held fundraisers or passed hats so we could get the supplies we needed as soon as we needed them. Pastor Dennis, who opened up his church to us to use as a staging ground for dispatching volunteers. Sal Lopizzo from Yana who has provided us with space, rides home, encouragement, and reminds us that we are never alone. (He also is great at hugging.)

We also would like to thank the great people at Liberty Bar in Seattle who let some ex-New Yorker friends there hold a benefit to support our work, and also the fine folks at Jimmy’s Diner who have helped keep us fed (and so well!) on long days when we have no time to fend for ourselves.

A special thanks this weekend to Edge Auto Rental who donated use of a 15 passenger rental van to Respond and Rebuild for 10 days, which helped us to make the most of the hundreds of volunteers who have been coming out for this holiday weekend. Without support like this, we’d have a much more difficult time effectively coordinating the enormous amount of volunteer motivation we’ve seen in the Rockaways.

One more big thanks goes out to our friends at All Hands Volunteers for inviting us out to their project site in Staten Island for Thanksgiving dinner. It was great to see old friends, hear about all the great work they’re doing in the community, and wish everyone luck on their new project starting up soon in Long Beach. Hugs to all we missed when we were out there.

Phew. That’s quite the thank you list, and it’s not nearly complete. We’re thinking of you all as we continue with the relief efforts in the Rockaways and beyond, and as we brainstorm about the best, most sustainable, inclusive, productive ways to move forward to rebuilding Sandy-affected communities in NYC.

Lots of love to you all.