By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Director of Communications and New Media
Less than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, relief efforts are in full force. No matter where you live in the U.S., there are ways to help.
Host a fundraiser. Contact a local restaurant to set up a fundraising dinner. Ask your favorite yoga studio to offer a “donations only” class. Coordinate with your place of worship to make a special collection for hurricane relief. Donate the funds to the Red Cross, or take a cue from Kelly Courson of Celiac Chicks and set up a virtual food drive — with Feeding America, each dollar raised pays for eight meals.
Donate non-perishable foods. If you’re concerned about getting all those cans from point A to point B, here’s a novel idea: Order non-perishable foods through a website like Vitacost.com and ship the delivery to a food bank in New York or New Jersey.
Gluten-free food can be hard to come by in emergency situations, so consider choosing gluten-free foods such as cereal, breakfast bars, crackers and soup to go in your donation shipment. Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun has a list of food banks accepting gluten-free food donations. Contact the food bank to let them know a special delivery is on the way!
Gather clothing, blankets and other supplies. With the change in seasons, now is the perfect time to go through your closet and donate clothing to the relief effort. Throw in a few new blankets, a big box of trash bags, flashlights and batteries.
Tweet your support. A number of relief efforts have popped up on Twitter. #EatDownTipUp and #DineOutNYC are two campaigns aiming to help New York City restaurants (and their workers) recover from the storm. Even if you can’t participate physically, you can tweet to spread the word.
Keep the aid coming. The communities affected by Hurricane Sandy will need help long after the attention wanes. Set a reminder to send a donation to a food bank or relief organization in the area six months from now. Research volunteer opportunities and spend a long weekend this winter or spring donating your time in New York or New Jersey.
Remember that no action is too small or too large to make a difference!
How are you contributing to Hurricane Sandy relief?
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers Vitacost.com website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free living, visit http://www.celiaccentral.org/.