Photo by Vitaliy Piltser
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers have shown an abundance of compassion toward one another. One unintended result of this generous spirit has been an oversupply of material donations, particularly clothing. Piles of unneeded clothing have created a waste disposal problem in many communities affected by the storm, compounding the challenge of removing the damaged contents of homes. This excess of donations creates a new burden of storing, disposing or transporting items that cannot be used by storm victims, such as summer clothing. An estimated 60% of donations received are unusable and, while well-intentioned, this outpouring of material support has helped to create landfills out of parking lots in these communities. Before donating supplies, please check which items are specifically needed at relief locations. Rather than donating used items to relief sites, consider bringing them to a charitable resale store, where they can help to raise funds for disaster recovery. For more information on waste-free donations, visit NYC WasteLess. Excess clothing collected for storm victims can instead be dropped for reuse or recycling with GrowNYC’s textile recycling partner, Wearable Collections, at several Greenmarket locations. Wearable Collections has announced that despite losing their fleet of collection trucks from flooding in Red Hook, they will double their monetary return contribution for clothing donations to the charity of your choice. For other items that are still usable, find new homes at one of our upcoming Stop ‘N’ Swaps, a free community reuse and exchange event. One of the best ways to help is to donate money to GrowNYC, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City or other reputable Sandy-Relief charities. Cash donations ensure that the right supplies are purchased for those in need and also removes logistical problems such as storage and waste disposal. Blood is also in high demand; find a donation site via The Red Cross. GrowNYC is on the ground providing staff and resources to help the victims of Sandy through collecting and distributing Greenmarket food to community kitchens and other outlets in impacted neighborhoods, helping to redistribute unwanted clothing donations, rebuilding devastated school and community, volunteering at shelters and supply distribution facilities and more. We will continue to work our utmost to provide New Yorkers with programs to reduce their environmental footprint and support our local economy. Please consider donating to GrowNYC or signing up to volunteer.