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Approaching a New Normal in Red Hook

Military vehicles have become a familiar sight in Red Hook during the past week
There was a spectacular outpouring of volunteer support in Red Hook over the weekend (including a celebrity or two), but Monday saw many volunteers taking the newly up and running subways back to work. Monday also marked the first time since the storm that all of the Red Hook Community Justice Center's staff and AmeriCorps volunteers who were able made it back to the Hook from far flung locations throughout the tri-state area, to check in with each other and on the Justice Center, as well as do a staff service day in the neighborhood.

As the neighborhood comes to grips with the grim reality of entering a second week largely without electricity, heat, or water, everyone is beginning to approach a new normal. FEMA and the National Guard have become a consistent presence in Coffey Park, continuing to efficiently hand out food and water, as well as blankets, baby care products, toiletries, flashlights, and other much-needed supplies. The orange t-shirts of volunteers from the Mayor's Office and the yellow and blue sweatshirts of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps have also become a welcome and recognizable sight. Community organizations such as the Red Hook Initiative and Visitation Church have been running their donation collection and volunteer organization efforts like a well-oiled machine (but they still need volunteers--check us out on facebook and twitter for the most up-to-date needs). Local elected officials have been stopping by, lending their staff to volunteer, and mobilizing support through social media, including City Council Members Sara Gonzalez and Brad Lander.

Scenes from the relief effort in Red Hook on Monday

The Justice Center is also starting to pick up the pieces and resume operations where we can. The 76th Precinct and Good Shepherd Services will soon be hosting our Youth Court and other youth programs while we rebuild, and Kentler International Drawing Space, located on hard-hit Van Brunt Street, will host our JustArts Drawing Program. Staff have been keeping our social media efforts--including our blogfacebook and twitter--up and running as a resource for residents and outside volunteers to find out up-to-date information on resources and needs in the neighborhood. Staff even used Coffey Park as a mobile office:

Justice Center Deputy Director Jessica Colon
works from her mobile office in the middle of Coffey Park.
The Red Hook Clinic Never Sleeps: Clinical Director Jessica Kay speaks to a client in the park.
Please stay tuned as we continue to work towards the recovery, rebuilding, and renewal of the Justice Center and greater Red Hook. Photos and quotes from our staff's volunteering efforts have appeared in publications all over the world, from right here in New York, to Washington, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and as far away as Guatemala, Finland, and Russia, but the best place to get the most recent updates continues to be here, on facebook, or on twitter.


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