Of Food Trucks and FEMA: Relief After Hurricane Sandy

It’s been three weeks since Hurricane Sandy tore through the Atlantic Coast, and while the media coverage has dwindled, volunteers, community organizations, and average citizens are still stepping up to help out those in need. Whether they give out meals or let people without electric charge up their cell phone, the relief efforts from citizens helped thousands of folks.

This outreach stretches into the food truck business as well. Food trucks in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Jersey have been cruising around affected areas, giving out tens of thousands of free meals.

Shortly after Sandy hit NYC, the advocacy group NYC Food Truck Association reached out to the food truck community, calling on anyone with enough fuel and supplies to head to affected areas and feed the people. Specifically hot meals and drinks. 16 food trucks hit the streets, giving away more then 25,000 meals to citizens in Staten Island, the Rockaways, Jersey, and Brooklyn. Corporate sponsors like Jet Blue are doing their part, helping to offset prices for participating trucks.

Restaurants and other food businesses that have the supplies also took to the streets, setting up BBQs and stands where people could get free meals. These businesses, some of them who’ve lost tens of thousands in income because of the storm are still giving back everything they can.

For those who lost homes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is trying to keep up with claims. FEMA provides an individual/houeshold program that uses federal funds to supply or pay for short-term lodging, property replacement, and repairs to structures in areas declared federal disaster areas by the President.

After Hurricane Sandy devastated the Garden State, all 21 counties qualified as federal disaster areas. FEMA has set up 30 disaster recovery centers that are operating statewide, seven days a week. FEMA can also be reached via their website, a hotline, and even by mobile app. They’re also traveling door-to-door to homes, churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, and community centers to examine victims’ needs.

FEMA is limited by the amount of money alloted them by the federal government. Private insurance companies also help along with funds donated by private citizens. Funds donated by citizens is currently in the millions.

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