It's been well over a week since Hurricane Sandy touched down on the East Coast. In most areas, power has been restored, the heat is back on and it's business as usual.
But according to jewelry designer and New York local Nettie Kent, the situation is far from "usual" in many beach communities. The surfer has been spending her time at Rockaway beach for the past week as one of the volunteers bringing much needed help and supplies to the devastated area.
"As a surfer, it's a community that is dear to me," she says of the popular East Coast surf destination. "I've been volunteering with the Rockaway surf club and I've been hearing from friends and family that the situation out there is not getting national coverage."
Kent has been working with her local surf shop, Pilgrim Surf and Supply, and the Rockaway Surf Club to organize volunteer efforts to help with everything from picking up debris to delivering hot coffee to locals. In Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the destruction is still taking its toll on locals. Katherine Boorman of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, drove an hour to the beachside town with a crew of friends to volunteer and deliver supplies last weekend.
"We didn't have a ton of money, but we did have time and manpower," she explains. "It felt like the right thing to do. As human beings, we need to help each other."
Boorman and ten of her friends spent the day carrying waterlogged carpet, furniture and debris out of homes and donating food and extra clothing to local drop-off points.
"Even simple acts are going to help out a lot right now," Boorman says. "People just weren't expecting it, and they were so grateful."
Kent says she experienced similar gratitude back in Rockaway, where people are in dire need of trash bags, paper towels and batteries. She says one many had been using his T-shirts as diapers for his two-month-old child.
"The people are such survivors," Kent says. "They have inspired and humbled me. There is so much work and help needed."
Both Kent and Boorman suggest getting involved with an organization before heading out to volunteer. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
• For information on how to get involved, check out InterOccupy.net/OccupySandy.
• Donate to the Red Cross' disaster relief fund.
• See more images of the damage at RenegadeSandyRelief.tumblr.com.
• Purchase the Slice of Sand necklace from Nettie Kent Jewelry and 40 percent of your purchase will go towards the Rockaway relief efforts.
Have you helped out your community after Hurricane Sandy? Let us know in the comments below!