Editorial: Spread Out Sandy Relief Efforts

By The Editorial Board

In typical New York fashion, Sandy, the destructive superstorm originally classified as a hurricane, brought out the best in the city’s residents. As those in New York and the surrounding areas literally begin to pick up the pieces of their lives, New Yorkers have showed a spirit of resilience and community.

The overall trend is one of togetherness. After Sandy passed and left much of New York City in the dark, those fortunate enough to have power ran extension cords outside for others to use or organized canned food drives. Runners unable to participate in the canceled New York City Marathon this weekend instead turned to volunteering. Newark Mayor Cory Booker even used Twitter to invite those without power into his home. He provided food and shelter for at least a dozen of his neighbors in Newark’s South Ward.

In New Jersey last week, Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama set aside any political differences during a joint tour of the hardest-hit areas of the Jersey Shore. Their display of bipartisanship is encouraging and inspiring, especially after such a vitriolic election season.

The Fordham community followed a similar trend of unity and concern for those affected. Students quickly organized assistance as best they could. Ram Vans transported Sodexo employees who could not otherwise travel to and from campus, and brought donated items to areas of the city in need. In addition, campus ministry has decided to donate the mass collections to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims for the rest of the semester.

Despite all the goodwill and heroism seen in the aftermath, we at The Ram are disappointed in the disproportionate response directed toward Lower Manhattan rather than New Jersey, the outer boroughs and Long Island. While Sandy’s impact was surely (and continues to be) felt in Lower Manhattan, other areas such as the Far Rockaways and Staten Island are far worse off and merit just as much concern during the clean-up process.

The blame rests firmly on both the media and governments’ shoulders. While we commend the president’s leadership when visiting the Shore, other areas were initially neglected, by both charitable organizations and the federal government, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is important to make up for that neglect with our own efforts and concern.  Though donating or volunteering anywhere is going to be helpful, we should try to focus our efforts on those hardest-hit areas that have received the least attention up to this point. Now, more than ever, we need to showcase our Jesuit education by being “men and women for others.”