NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — While organizations such as power companies have drawn furor in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a group more associated with very different issues – Occupy Wall Street – has been hailed as an effective relief agency.
Social media savvy helped Occupy protesters create a grass-roots movement throughout the country and the world last year. Now, those same efforts have helped them fan out across New York to deliver aid including medicines, blankets, food and water, as part of the Occupy Sandy initiative.
They took food and water to Glenn Nisall, 53, in his devastated Queens neighborhood.
“I’m one of the 99 percent,” Nisall said.
Occupy Sandy started at a church in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn the day after the storm. Occupiers set up a base of operations there and then used social media to spread the word and get donations.
Occupy Wall Street emphasized that its mission is about charity and community, and seemed to criticize other relief organizations’ methods.
“(T)he People’s Emergency is not a humanitarian operation. It is not about charity,” Occupy Wall Street said on its Web site this past Tuesday. “We are not an army of salvation or an agency of administration. We wear red squares, not red crosses. We are creating autonomous zones for community and solidarity, not camps for managing the lives of powerless victims.”
In an article this week on what it deemed the city’s failures to remedy the devastation in Staten Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways and other areas, the Village Voice called Occupy Sandy “one of the most impressive… citizen relief efforts.”
Many residents of the Rockaways last weekend said Occupy Sandy volunteers were the only relief workers they had seen, the Village Voice reported.
But the article noted that Occupy Wall Street is not sufficient for the relief effort, as it lacks the heavy machinery and emergency response knowledge needed to fully attend to the devastated areas’ needs.
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