Every water bottle, pitcher or jug we owned was filled with water. A pyramid of canned beans, corn and tuna were stacked neatly atop the counter. The pantry was full of stove-top friendly fare, such as rice and quinoa. The freezer was packed with extra ice, so that it would hold its contents better— in case we lost power. The fridge was unusually bare. We stopped buying perishable goods, once we got first wind the storm was headed our way. The emergency suitcase was prepared for a quick departure with some warm clothes and our most essential documents. We were doing our best to take the threats seriously and “hunkering down” for a hurricane.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall outside of Atlantic City and touched over 65 million people in its path. I heard about school closings as far west as Chicago, because the winds from the storm disrupted the Lake Michigan tides. The DC Metro area fared luckier than most, as many have seen the maps of New York City showing the neighborhoods still without electricity, heat and water. The heartbreaking photos of devastation along the Jersey Shore and neighborhoods in New York such as Breezy Pointe have been difficult to watch.
Looking back at the moments we experienced while this tragedy unfolded through the fuzzy signal on the TV in our living room, we could do little more than “hunker down.” From Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon, we stayed indoors and waited for the storm to pass. There was real fear as we watched tall, strong trees bounce back and forth in the 50 mile and hour gusts. We even considered sleeping in the hallway as conditions started to really deteriorate. I admittedly wondered what it would feel like and how I would react, if I was awoken in the middle of the night to a tree coming down through our home.
Though, on the second morning, when it became clear that the serious danger had passed from DC, and the news had focused attention mainly on the devastation of our friends to the north, I began to feel helpless. What could I do to help? I was miles from the wreckage and there was no way to be there and make a difference.
Then on my Facebook news feed, a message pops up that the JUF had established a “Jewish Federation Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.” Time and time again, the JUF steps up when people need it most. Even though I’ve made the East Coast my home, last week was no exception.