Since October 30, the Small Business Administration has issued more than 3,400 disaster relief loan applications to small businesses in New York and another 1,600 in New Jersey. And these numbers are expected to grow. (Click here
to apply for your own disaster relief loan.)
“Requests for disaster relief from small business owners usually comes in slowly because entrepreneurs sit and think about what they can do to avoid incurring debt,” says SBA spokesperson Carol Chastang.
Here’s how to help.
Hold a fundraiser. Contact business organizations on the East Coast and ask if they are mobilizing to raise money for affected small businesses. Once you find a good fit, dovetail their efforts by holding a fundraiser at your business, recommends Dr. Brenda D. Phillips, professor at Oklahoma State University’s Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events.
A fundraiser is the best thing you can do to help, says Phillips, because money affords business owners flexibility. Try contacting NYC Business Solutions
, part of the New York City Development Corporation. The group is in the process of setting up widespread business recovery efforts. Reach out to neighbors and friends.
Touch base with affected neighborhood small businesses. If you don’t live on the East Coast but know someone who does, call or email them and ask what you can do to help.
, a community-based disaster recovery site, to find specific projects where you can donate and places to volunteer. The site has special pages for Manhattan’s Lower East Side
, Astoria, NY
and Red Hook
(a hard hit Manhattan neighborhood). Host a blood drive.
Small-business owners can make a huge impact on the Hurricane Sandy relief effort by hosting a blood drive. This may not help small businesses directly, but as Karen Stecher, American Red Cross spokesperson says, the effort has far reaching impact for the general public.
“We’ve had nearly 360 blood drives cancelled because of the storm,” she says. “Small businesses can sign up to host blood drives in their workplaces by contacting their local Red Cross
If your place of work isn’t suitable for a blood drive, consider allowing a Red Cross blood drive truck to sit outside your office and encourage employees and clients to participate. Stay connected.
Twitter is a great place stay current on hurricane relief needs. Try following #sandyvolunteer
, @NYCService, @fema
, and @redcross
. What resources would you add to this list?