Partnering with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Bend the Arc’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts focus on restoring hope to a community in need
NEW YORK – Motivated by the destruction Hurricane Sandy has wrought upon towns across New York, New Jersey, and up and down the East Coast, the nation’s largest Jewish social justice organization is partnering with Newark Mayor Cory Booker to establish an initiative to fund long-term disaster response to rebuild Newark, where, initially, 95 percent of residents were left with no power.
As the nation’s leading progressive Jewish voice empowering Jewish Americans to advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice is investing in the restoration of Newark’s community facilities damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, as well as helping get people back to work through allocating aid to existing businesses that were shut down by the storm. In addition to raising funds for long-term hurricane relief, Bend the Arc also today launched the Hurricane Sandy Response Fund to raise immediate support toward Newark’s storm recovery.
Bend the Arc was among the first organizations to respond to rebuilding needs in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The organization will draw upon its experience gained over the last seven years in New Orleans to help alleviate suffering, respond to urgent needs, and revitalize the community of Newark.
“With so many good organizations raising funds in a general way toward Hurricane Sandy relief, Bend the Arc is proud to join Mayor Booker in investing long-term in Newark’s infrastructure, vital community institutions, and businesses,” said Alan van Capelle, Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc. “The Jewish community has a rich tradition of reaching out to offer help wherever it is needed and to whomever needs assistance. While New Jersey has seen incredible devastation, some communities are better positioned to rebuild quickly while others risk being left behind due to a pattern of longstanding social and economic challenges. Newark is one of those communities, which is why we have chosen to focus our attention there.”
The residents of Newark, where the average household income is half that of New Jersey as a whole, were particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Together with Mayor Booker and the community-based organizations that know Newark best, Bend the Arc is creating affordable housing, making small business loans, and helping restore essential services in neighborhoods that had the least resources both before and after disaster struck. Mayor Booker expressed gratitude for Bend the Arc’s cooperation and collaboration.
“Newark is in the midst of an economic revitalization, with continuing work to do,” Mayor Booker said. “The massive flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy will not stop that revitalization or other continuing work, but in order to stay the course, we need the partnership of others to get through this crisis. Bend the Arc is stepping up in a big way to support Newark immediately and in the long-term. I, and all of Newark, are profoundly grateful.”
People can donate online to the Hurricane Sandy Response Fund to alleviate Newark’s immediate needs for food, shelter and safety during continuing power outages, fires and widespread shortages of basic necessities such as gas, diapers and medicine. Among the first recipients of funds will be the network of Newark Family Success Centers, an organization with deep roots in the city of Newark, as well as a broad group of community partners providing services including crisis shelter, child care, economic development, educational assistance, job training and neighborhood renewal.
Bend the Arc is the nation’s leading progressive Jewish voice empowering Jewish Americans to be advocates for the nation’s most vulnerable. We mobilize Jewish Americans beyond religious and institutional boundaries to create justice and opportunity for all, through bold leadership development, innovative civic engagement, and robust progressive political advocacy.