In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy
In the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy, DOROT’s staff and volunteers went into high gear to contact, assist, and reassure our older friends—especially those left without power and/or communication. If we couldn’t reach them by phone, DOROT staff and volunteers went to their homes—often climbing stairs by flashlight with food, water, and other necessities—to check on them. We delivered meals, shopped for groceries and medications, and kept in touch as services were gradually restored. In some instances, volunteers performed important errands in the place of caregivers who could not reach the seniors’ homes because of transportation disruptions.
DOROT volunteers gathered in our headquarters after the storm to phone isolated seniors.
DOROT also assisted frail seniors—newcomers to our agency—whose local service organizations had been incapacitated, delivering emergency meals and other necessities. One volunteer, after delivering supplies to a stranded older couple without power, helped them empty their refrigerator and carried the rotting food down the darkened staircase and out of their building.
We are grateful to the many new volunteers who flooded our phones and website with offers of help, and to our “regulars” who refused to let transportation issues interrupt their consistent volunteer record. This includes Jim Heaney, a volunteer for over a decade, who trekked from Queens to prepare and serve his usual Thursday night meal at the Homelessness Prevention Program. (You can read more about Jim at his You Made My Day! volunteer profile.)
DOROT’s dedicated staff also went that extra mile—in some cases, literally. Social worker Sasha Stim–Fogel, stymied by overfull subways, trains and buses that did not stop at her local stations, walked for two–and–a–half hours from Woodside, Queens to the West Side, then turned around at the end of the day and walked home.
All of these efforts were deeply appreciated by the seniors who received calls and visits from DOROT staff and volunteers. Until DOROT called, one 76–year–old woman hadn’t heard from a single person in several days, a frightening experience for her. “I needed a hug and your phone call gave it to me,” she said.