Although the immediate crisis of Hurricane Sandy may have passed, the physical, emotional, and financial effects on communities, families and children may take quite a while to resolve. Many residents of the shore areas are feeling disappointed and disillusioned at this time, confronted by the limits of available disaster assistance. The optimism they initially experienced at the outpouring of help might be giving way to discouragement and fatigue as relief agencies and volunteer groups begin to pull out. Survivors may be feeling abandoned and resentful, stressed out and exhausted by bureaucratic hassles, family tension, financial losses, time constraints, home reconstruction, relocation, and lack of recreation or leisure time. Those whose homes are still not repaired are anxious about the future. While those in unaffected areas or in areas with greater resources may be back to “business as usual,” there is still a great deal of upheaval and distress for others. This can lead to a loss of the cohesion that many neighbors felt with each other when they were all experiencing the first days and months of the crisis together. (1)
It is important for us all to remember that there is still a great deal of distress in these communities–if you are able, think about renewing your commitment to help. While the help may look different at this point, your donation of time or money is still very needed! One of our favorite organizations that has had “boots on the ground” since day one after the storm is RebuildRecover. Visit their website at RebuildRecover.org to learn about the most current relief activities and how you can participate. And of course, there’s us, Arts Healing Hearts — we are committed to hanging in there and giving children and families fun and creative ways to express and perhaps ease some of the distress.
(1) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)