Occupy Sandy has surfaced as a grassroots emergency supply distribution movement, giving one time members of Occupy Wall Street a chance to put their activism to good work in helping victims of the storms that ravaged the area.
The Occupy Sandy volunteers have started working in the hardest-hit regions of New York City, using social media to mobilize hundreds of volunteers and even taking over the registry section of Amazon to solicit donations. Many now believe that Occupy Sandy activists are filling the void left by local and federal relief agencies, The Week notes.
Occupy Sandy is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, one that volunteer Michael Premo says includes an estimated 2,500 volunteers. Together they have distributed 15,000 meals and 120 carloads of supplies.
Much like Occupy Wall Street, the Occupy Sandy movement started with discontentment with large establishments, this time with the federal and non-profit relief agencies that came to help hurricane victims, writes Allison Kilkenny at The Nation.
The grassroots nature of Occupy Sandy reflects the ideals of Occupy Wall Street. There is no central command structure, but instead volunteers use venues like Facebook and Twitter to let potential donors know what supplies are most needed. These donation systems were set up by occupiers themselves who saw that emergency supplies could be given much more efficiently.
“My friends and I talked about how we could improve the donation system while we were walking to the store to buy some food for meals,” John Heggestuen, 25, an Occupy Sandy member who started a registry, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Reporters have had difficulty determining exactly the size and impact of Occupy Sandy, as its loosely structure nature doesn’t lend well to quantification.There are also reports that the movement is a tad disorganized.
“[Its] relief response is incredibly disorganized — volunteers setting up pop-up aid stations every 10 or 15 blocks. Little coordination,” Village Voice writer Nick Pinto tweeted.
But Occupy Sandy is still seen as a big help to the people of New York, he added.