More Ways to Help

From the New York City Council:

Dear Neighbor:

Like many of you, we have been greatly alarmed by the devastation and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria and this month’s deadly earthquake in Mexico.

Hurricane Maria, which decimated parts of the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where it caused catastrophic flooding and wiped out power across the entire island, has been especially hard-hitting.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that we can help those who have been impacted by these terrible disasters.


There are many organizations actively working to assist Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the other areas of the Caribbean that were badly damaged by Hurricane Maria, including:

Those wishing to help out our neighbors in Puerto Rico can also text UNIDOS to 41444 and/or contact the Hispanic Federation, which has established its own Hurricane Relief Fund to aid those on the Island who were affected by Hurricane Maria.  For more information, visit

Additionally, the City has identified 18 firehouses and EMS stations across the five boroughs where New Yorkers can donate the following critically-needed items for Hurricane Maria relief:

  • Diapers
  • Baby Food
  • Batteries
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Feminine Hygiene Products

For a list of locations and the hours within which donations are being accepted, please click here or visit the City’s website at, please note that the City is only collecting the items listed above.


Relief efforts are also underway to help those affected by this month’s powerful earthquake in Mexico.

Here’s a list, originally published in the NY Times, of local and international organizations that are providing aid:

  • Topos México is a nonprofit rescue brigade made up of volunteers that was created after a 1985 earthquake.  The group posted to Twitter information on how to donate through PayPal and its bank accounts, and thanked people for their support.For more information, visit  (Please note: Website is in Spanish.)
  • Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization, has staff members in Mexico City and has pledged that 100 percent of its donations will go directly to relief efforts, which it says will include facilitating the delivery of medical supplies to affected areas.For more information, visit
  • GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding organization, has pledged that all money donated to its earthquake fund will go to recovery and relief efforts.For more information, visit
  • Fondo Unido Mexico, part of the United Way network, has created an emergency fund to help the areas affected by the earthquake as well as by the recent series of hurricanes.For more information, visit


When deciding to donate, please be sure to visit – the New York State Attorney General’s one-stop resource for charitable organizations, fundraisers, grantmakers and members of the public.  There you will find important tips on charitable giving, as well as information about other helpful resources to check before donating, such as Charity Navigator.

Our heartfelt thanks to any of you who are able to help out during this time of great need.


New York City Council

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Ready for Any Emergency

Our weekend New York Rising classes here at the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program have been studying both English and how to prepare for just about any emergency. Last Saturday they shared their knowledge with their fellow ESOL students. Watch above to see what happened, and take a look at some photos below!

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Our Laughter Rang Out on All the Hills

March 5 is “Learn from Lei Feng Day” in China. Here’s a story from Changing Every Day that mentions him. When you finish reading, take the quiz to test your understanding!:

My Childhood in the Countryside

Pei Ci Kuang

池塘边的榕树上,知了在声声叫着夏天,黑板上老师的粉笔还在拼命吱吱喳喳写个不停,等待着夏天,等待着明天,迷迷糊糊的童年。(Banyan tree at the pond, cicadas call in the summer, chalk on the black board, teacher still writes non-stop, waiting for summer, waiting for tomorrow, stumbled childhood)

Do you still remember this nursery rhyme? My childhood was spent in the countryside. I have fond memories.

In spring, plants would start to sprout, animals come out to get some fresh air. After festival, the temperature rose and rain fall increased, and it was high time for spring plowing and sowing. We expected to have a good year! When we were done after school, we queued and sang:”学习雷锋, 好榜样,忠于革命,忠于党’’ (Learn Lei Feng, good role model, loyal to the revolution, loyal to the party.) We went on adventures together, giving everyone a nickname: Corsair, Devil, Pirate, Sailor. Our laughter rang out on all the hills, and in the cave came the echo. Thinking the big people were telling ghost stories, we ran home, completely forgetting what we needed to do. When we took a shower in the evening, our bodies were full of mud, and adults yelled at us, “Crazy kids!” We smiled at each other, discussing tomorrow.

In summer, when grass and trees looked greener than ever, we saw flowers everywhere in every color we could imagine. We didn’t go to school, which left more time to play outside. We created our toys, using bamboo to make a gun, with small fruit as bullets. We played field operation on the mountain. We climbed up the tree to pick star fruits. We went to the mountains to pick up small black fruits. It was enough for our slender mouths to eat for a whole summer. We went swimming in a small river. We got together to enjoy the cool air on the patio. What wonderful summer days!

In fall, the roosters’ crows resounded in the morning in the quiet village and the alleys of small traders. A busy day started on the farmland. Everywhere were busy people’s shadows. Harvest season was coming! After school, our greatest pleasure was to fly kites. We used newspaper and bamboo to make them. They hung up in the sky, symbols of our dreams and our thoughts of our loved ones. We walked in the fields between. Everywhere was a vibrant scene.

In winter, water flowed in the quiet lake, sunlight shone on the lake, and birds flying across the river made ripples. The hill became quiet. We also calmed down, but we still had many activities. We played jump rope, flight chess, cards, hide and seek. That was our happy hour!

My childhood friends, how is your situation? Do our hometown hills look the same? Does the hometown water taste sweet? Do you tell your kids our stories?


To read more stories from Changing Every Day, click here.


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