PHOTO: OCCUPY SANDY/NICHOLAS ISABELLA
By GEORGIA REED-STAMM, age 10
Occupy Sandy is a mutual aid movement that grew out of Occupy Wall Street and started right after Hurricane Sandy. All the workers are volunteers. They help people who were left devastated by giving objects that are needed, raising money for the victims, and dedicating their time.
One of the distribution centers is the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew on 520 Clinton St in the Lower East Side. There is a sign outside the distribution center that says “mutual aid, not charity.”
“If I could do anything for this community, everything would be bottom-up,” says Damien Crisp, an artist and writer who has been with Occupy since the beginning. He explains that what’s important is “listening and engaging the victim, not insisting.”
Some people came from very far away—Arkansas, Texas, and Canada—to volunteer and donate. Although some people disapprove of Occupy Sandy, many companies were supportive to their workers and gave time off to the volunteers.
“My friends don’t respect Occupy Sandy. I don’t care. I still help,” says Elajay Marquez, an Occupy sandy volunteer.
After being asked the question how to be sustained at Occupy Sandy, Crisp said, “the place sustains you.” He adds, “Creating a better community is actually happening and I’m glad to be one of the people who is helping to create this better community.”
“Seeing people who have lost their homes, to put a smile on their face is touching,” says Marquez.
For more on Occupy Sandy, check out “The Importance of Grassroots Relief” by Georgia Reed-Stamm, Kalani Chen-Hayes, age 9, and Theo Yanos, age 10.