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The QC campus itself was not significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and QC Hillel's space in the Student Union building was not affected at all. The dormitory was not affected, nor was the neighborhood where many of our other residential students live. All had power, and there was not significant flooding to report. IT and electrical systems were unaffected for Hillel as part of the College systems.
Our activities in response to the Hurricane have been in two categories:
1. Service to affected commuter students
For the very first time, commuter students had a campus community to help them in their time of need. We have many students from Long Island who were directly affected (the Five Towns, Long Beach, Roslyn, and Great Neck, in particular), having homes that were flooded or destroyed, loss of power, water, and sewage systems. The gas shortage exacerbated the problem, and spread the effect to students from other areas including New Jersey and Westchester. Residential students opened their homes immediately and unprompted to these students, housing them for days after the storm. Hillel has organized meals donated by local restaurants to feed these students so as not to cause impositions on hosts. Hillel extended its hours of service to give these students a place to study and hang out so as not to sit in other students' living rooms with no place to turn. Many students who usually commute have stayed on campus for Shabbat and have found refuge in the community. These support systems continue as needed.
2. Support of the on-campus evacuee shelter
New York City opened an official shelter on the QC campus for evacuees of the Rockaways shortly after the storm hit. At present, the shelter holds hundreds of residents, including nursing home patients and families with children.
Hillel was approached as a key partner in supporting the shelter, particularly once the first responders leave. So far, Hillel has organized the following service of the shelter:
a. We have organized volunteers to staff the shelter during overnight hours when residents need help getting to sleep, get up and get confused during the night and need help getting to bathrooms.
b. We have organized volunteers to spend time with children whose schools were destroyed and have nothing to do during the day.
c. We have organized donations of fresh food from vendors we use regularly to the residents of the shelter.
d. We have coordinated delivery of Shabbat kits including challah, grape juice, and siddurim to Jewish residents of the shelter for this past shabbat.
e. We organized a minyan to take place at the shelter Friday night for a resident of the shelter who had yahrzeit for his mother and wanted to say Kaddish.
f. We are working to arrange for Tizmoret - our Jewish a capella group - to rehearse and/or perform at the shelter to raise spirits.
h. Many of our pre-med and other students have volunteered of their own accord in medical, food distribution, and other capacities.
Volunteer! (Anyone over the age of 18), please register below and review requirements:
a. Registration closed
b. You need to be at least 18 years old
c. Volunteering is in increments of 3 – 4 hours or more
d. The shelter is located at the Fitzgerald Gym on campus.
e. Sign-in is in the lobby - You must present a picture ID.
f. The last step is to go to room 307 to await your assignment
Current Shelter Needs.
As of November 19, the shelter is closed.
Questions? Contact Lynn Grossman at email@example.com.