Helping Out After Sandy - Real, Not Fake, Help

After watching the heartbreaking news of disasters like Sandy, we all want to cry. But there's more we can do. Rather than hold a fake food drive, which hurts more than it helps, or hide from questions about your commitment to dismantle FEMA, you may be genuinely driven by a desire to help others in this post-Sandy disaster recovery.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. Beware of scams - these will inevitably pop up, seeking to capitalize on the good will that is out there. I recommend going with well-established and well-run disaster relief agencies.

2. Donate blood - even if you are hurting financially, you can donate blood! The storm not only disrupted lives but it interfered with blood drives. Now the need is great. Here is the Red Cross site. You can donate money or find out where the nearest blood drive is.

3. Advice from survivors - if anyone knows what it's like to go through this, it's New Orleans. Here's solid advice to anyone who's had water infiltration from the site.

4. Sort food and toss - Worried about what food you can keep or what you should toss? Here is the site with helpful lists.

5. Gifts that help - Here's an interesting idea: a piece of jewelry that helps? Designer Joan Hornig gives 100% of profits from various pieces to charities of your choice. Take a look at her inspired collections for Tsunami Relief and now a barbell for strength for Sandy Survivors. Her motto is Philanthropy is Beautiful.


Help a Neighbor

And if you are near someone that might be in their home but hurting, you can offer an ear, a shoulder to cry on, or maybe take them some cake. In my storm preparations, I came upon this lovely Bundt cake that has great fall flavors and will last up to five days without refrigeration. Theoretically. This will not stay around five days.

Dorie Greenspan's Pumpkin Bundt Cake

This cake is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours - p 187 All in one Holiday Bundt. This has lovely pumpkin, cranberry, pecan and maple flavors. I happened to be out of cranberries so I soaked red flame raisins in ginger liqueur then squeezed out the extra liquid (of course I did not waste that!) I'm happy to report that, and the addition of a bit of Five Spice were big hits. We'll be making this again and it would be lovely for the Thanksgiving dessert tray.