November 4, 2012

Cornell, Ithaca Plan Relief Efforts for Hurricane Sandy Victims

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In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Cornell and Ithaca communities are organizing relief efforts to assist people hurt by the storm.After the storm slammed much of the East Coast, the Cornell Public Service Center joined a conference call with northeastern schools of Campus Compact — a national coalition of college and university presidents committed to civic engagement.The conference call enabled the PSC to “get a general sense of what our response could be and should be,” according to Joyce Muchan ’96, assistant director of student programs for the PSC.PSC has not made definite plans regarding its response, Muchan said.“So that’s preliminary … everything is in the beginning stages,” Muchan said.Muchan added that, as the University plans its relief efforts, “it’s important for us to take direction from other communities as well.”“We’re gathering all the information, and we’ll disseminate it as quickly and efficiently as possible,” she said.The PSC plans to work with the American Red Cross, United Way and other aid organizations to help victims of the disaster. For now, however, efforts are largely in the planning stages as the University collects information about the scale of the damage, Muchan said.“With what we do know, it’s incomprehensible what has transpired in some of these communities … Because Cornell is an engaged community, we will work to meet the needs of the communities that are impacted,” Muchan said.After the storm, the University also started a blog “to facilitate communication among students, faculty, staff, and our larger Cornell family,” President David Skorton said in an email sent to the Cornell community Wednesday.The PSC will connect the Cornell community to other relief organizations such as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Salvation Army for volunteer opportunities to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, according to a post on the blog.“Many of you have generously offered to help in the recovery. Some of you need assistance,” Skorton said. “I can report that relief plans are underway and information will be shared as available.” The blog also listed counseling and emotional support services for students, faculty and employees.On Sunday, two local restaurants, The BoatYard Grill and Ciao, organized a donation drive called Fill The Truck. The drive aims to assist areas in New York and New Jersey affected by the hurricane, according to Brian Jardin, manager at The Grill and Ciao.“We felt that we as a community weren’t really making a lot of efforts to help the victims of the hurricane, so we started the drive,” he said.Ithaca’s response to the drive was “overwhelming,” Jardin said. More than 250 people donated to the drive in the 24 hours after it was announced on Facebook.“We had a lot of families come in who donated to the drive. The children gave their Halloween candy,” he said. “We have filled the truck and are now attaching a trailer. We are [currently] at over-capacity.”

Original Author: Lianne Bornfeld