Hurricane Sandy's impact varied widely from locality to locality. Some critics say the response has been equally inconsistent — and that less wealthy neighborhoods in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens have taken a back seat to well-heeled and well-connected Manhattan. According to press reports, some neighborhoods where FEMA has been hard to spot are feeling the presence of another force: the Occupy Wall Street movement, reborn as Occupy Sandy. The New York Times has the story ("Occupy Sandy: A Movement Moves to Relief," by Alan Feuer): "In the past two weeks, Occupy Sandy has set up distribution sites at a pair of Brooklyn churches where hundreds of New Yorkers muster daily to cook hot meals for the afflicted and to sort through a medieval marketplace of donated blankets, clothes and food. There is an Occupy motor pool of borrowed cars and pickup trucks that ferries volunteers to ravaged areas. An Occupy weatherman sits at his computer and issues regular forecasts. Occupy construction teams and medical committees have been formed." More nimble than the larger, established old-school charities, says the report, Occupy's quickly assembled ad-hoc response has been able "to tap into an unfulfilled desire among the residents of the city to assist in the recovery."
Donated goods pile up and volunteers with Occupy Sandy's "laterally organized" relief operation gather at a New York City church on July 12 in this image from the Occupy Sandy photostream at Flickr.com.
A report on Gothamist.com describes Occupy activities in hard-hit Red Hook, New York ("Photos: Occupy Sandy Volunteers Help Out In Red Hook"): "Volunteers distributed lifesaving materials like batteries, baby food, toilet paper, water and medical supplies to Red Hook residents, many of whom live in public housing, and put together assessment forms to figure out what other supplies were needed in the neighborhood. They also supplied homebound residents with things they'd specifically requested, and delivered hot food."
According to a report in The Village Voice, Occupy's efforts made a significant impact in places where government activities were less than fully effective ("Sandy, Occupy, and the City's Failures," by Nick Pinto). Said the Voice: "In the eastern reaches of the Rockaways over the weekend, many residents said Occupy Sandy volunteers were the only relief workers they'd seen, the only people to bring them food, clean water, blankets, and information, the only people to ask what they needed and whether they knew of others in even worse shape who required immediate attention."