Organization structure

Volunteers from the organization Occupy Sandy gather to mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating storm

NEW YORK — Super hurricane Sandy devastated the tri-state area, killing 44 people in New York City alone and causing $19 billion in damage, but it also forced some people to come together and help others.

One of the bands formed in the aftermath of the disaster is now known as Occupy Sandy. They have helped countless people recover from the storm.

Ten years after the tragedy, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer caught up with volunteers as they gathered to mark the anniversary.

Among those volunteers is Sal Lopizzo, the founder of You Are Never Alone, or YANA.

“It was a big force during Hurricane Sandy, the recovery…It became what we call Occupy Sandy and now it’s a legend,” Lopizzo said. “What was really amazing was how people reacted.”

“Occupy Sandy grew out of Occupy Wall Street,” Goldie Guerrra said. “We had our little Occupy Wall Street text loops. We kind of re-jiggered them for hurricane relief and they were called Occupy Sandy.”

“Occupy Sandy represented something that wasn’t necessarily new, but is in some ways the most dynamic kind of response to any disaster that’s kind of like fueled people,” Michael Premo said.

“We knew how to organize a structure…Someone created an Amazon gift registry,” said Andrew Smith. “I would say about five days later, six days later, like, a UPS truck, like a normal UPS truck, came. We’re like, ‘OK, yeah, fill it up, let’s get the stuff. “They say, ‘No, it’s all yours’ and then he says ‘and that too’, and an 18-wheeled UPS comes along.”

Smith says they received $750,000 in donations, in addition to a quarter million dollars in cash. Fifty thousand volunteers mobilized.

“A ton just poured in,” Smith said.

“My whole office was smashed. We filled it with supplies. We had diapers, toiletries, food. We were feeding 1,000 people a day. There was no army, no police, no one, it was all grassroots,” Lopez said.

“There really wasn’t a lot of government help coming in. So Occupy really filled those gaps,” Kalin Callaghan said. “I remember the Red Cross showing up with cold hot dogs like weeks after the storm. We were just like, ‘You’re kidding me with this.'”

Addressing a crowd of gathered volunteers, Lopizzo recalled: “I didn’t know what to do. A friend of mine was like, ‘Look, Sal, it’s over, man. You did your best. ‘ So, I said a prayer, did some meditation, opened my eyes and there was Premo.”

“One interesting thing about Occupy Sandy that really hit home on a massive scale was when the Department of Homeland Security did a study on Occupy Sandy. And it really hit home. effectiveness of our efforts that are largely unrecognized in the kind of larger conversations,” Premo said.

“I could just cry…I’m watching them now, it’s 10 years later, and they were kids, and now they’re adults and they’re doing the same thing,” Lopizzo said.

“Ten years later, I feel so good to be back here with all these good people that I really love. Looking back, I can think of how the impact of Sandy and the organization that we did after really shaping the trajectory of my life,” Callaghan said.

“We have to stop thinking about the 1% and realize that we are the 99%. And we will do whatever it takes. So that’s it. Thank you all. I love each and every one of you,” said Lopizzo at the meeting. volunteers.