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‘What can I do?’: New Yorkers seek ways to help


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This week, it’s been hard to log onto a website of any organization — a school, a gym, even a store — and not see a reference to Sandy and efforts to help. The 92nd Street Y, in Manhattan, offered families free arts classes and gym time. PTA groups at schools discussed bake sales to raise money.

On a larger scale, NBC held a benefit concert Friday night, featuring Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and other stars, with donations going to the Red Cross. Barneys New York, the luxury store, was giving 10 percent of its proceeds from Sunday sales to the Red Cross.

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Some recovery efforts involved not a group, but merely an individual seeking to help a neighbor. Julia Strom spent three nights — from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. — caring for a woman in her 90s by candlelight. Doing so "was a privilege; it heightens and beautifies life," the 53-year-old Strom said.

Sometimes, agreed Pentecost, of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, it’s the littlest things that count the most — what she called "small acts of great love."

Her group was planning to take the thousands of dollars raised this weekend and stuff a bunch of $20 bills into envelopes for families who need to pay that next cellphone bill. Or stock the refrigerator.

"People have to throw out everything in their fridges," she noted. "This is restock-the-fridge money."

"I understand the need for FEMA and the Red Cross and all the rest," she added. "But we’re talking about no lines, no red tape. Just immediate help. These people have suffered enough."

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Associated Press Writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.




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