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How to Help New England Recover from Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy--or, technically, Post-Tropical-Storm Sandy--swept through New England on October 29, 2012. The historic and catastrophic hybrid storm had already caused unimaginable devastation in New Jersey and New York. In New England, coastal communities in Connecticut and Rhode Island were particularly hard hit. Four Connecticut counties have been declared federal disaster areas. If you're a New Englander who, like me, was lucky to be spared the worst of the storm's fury, or, if your heart is in New England and you'd like to assist with storm recovery efforts, here are some ways to help:

1. Volunteer to Help with Clean Up in Rhode Island

Serve Rhode Island is coordinating volunteer efforts to clean up and rebuild Rhode Island communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Complete this online form to be notified of opportunities to lend a hand.

2. Buy a T-shirt

The popular @RIProbz Twitter account is usually filled with complaints about the littlest state, but now, the site's creators are hawking #RebuildRI T-shirts and donating proceeds to the American Red Cross's Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in Rhode Island. Men's and women's T-shirt styles are available in a variety of colors, and they're a visible way to show your post-storm support for the Ocean State.

3. Donate to Connecticut-based AmeriCares

Global relief agency AmeriCares is based in Stamford, Connecticut, and it is serving its home state as part of larger efforts to provide needed care items and medical supplies to areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Financial donations can be made online. Call toll free, 800-486-4357, to learn about volunteer opportunities in Connecticut.

4. Support SoundWaters

SoundWaters is a non-profit that protects Long Island Sound by educating the public, particularly student groups, about this natural resource. The organization's teaching vessel, a three-masted schooner, survived Superstorm Sandy, but sadly, the SoundWaters Coastal Education Center in Stamford, Connecticut, suffered an estimated $100,000 in damages. Donations are being gratefully accepted as the organization seeks to rebuild and replace valuable equipment that was lost.

5. Give Blood

The American Red Cross reports that Superstorm Sandy caused the cancellation of about 300 blood drives in 14 East Coast states, and it's critical now to make up for s shortfall of nearly 11,000 units of blood. If you can give, here's how to find a blood drive.

6. Visit Coastal Destinations

Many New England coastal communities depend on tourism, and in the months following Hurricane Sandy, it will be more important than ever for travelers to return to these destinations. Some, such as Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut, have already recovered from the storm and are welcoming visitors.

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