Before moving to the US from Poland, I didn’t fully grasp the scope of inequality that existed in New York. New York, one of the wealthiest cities in the US, is also an extremely economically divided city.
For people from Europe, it is hard to imagine the depth of this divide. According to The New York Times, “last year the wealthiest 20 percent of Manhattan residents made $400,000 a year on average. The poorest 20 percent made less than $10,000.”
This hurricane really illustrates this chasm. After the terrible storm hit the city, thousands of people were left without power, electric or running water. Huddling in the dark, they were scared and venerable. Meanwhile, others seemed to be oblivious of the ones trapped below 29th street and were busy enjoying a lavish Halloween party hosted at the Waldorf Astoria. This is the same city – a few blocks apart.
The same city, the same day … just a few streets apart:
At a lavish Halloween party in Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Debra Messing dressed as Marie Antoinette, while thousands struggle in the aftermath of Sandy.
Those who make up the backbone of our city: the army of cashiers, maids, waiters, nannies, and helpers had to remain and work – even during these most difficult times.
Americans hardly have any “days off”, and even a natural disaster is not enough of an excuse to take a day off of work. And honestly speaking, some families couldn’t afford to be without a job for even one day.
Getting any work these days is more difficult after the last economic crisis. So these who were affected most by Sandy were obviously the poorest. Some of New York shelters were in the really bad shape. People evacuating their homes, left with nothing . Shelters were in the bad need of donations of basic items, such as bottled water, flashlights, blankets, canned goods.
Two of my girlfriends (Hayley and Tayef) organized a fundraiser … through Facebook! They and their friends posted the info on their walls and hundreds of people, family, friends and friends of friends sent donations ($10, $20 via paypal) and within less than 24 house they raised almost $3000.
They raised enough funds to buy food and basic items for two shelters in need!
With only a couple of other volunteers (Josh, Gaby, Jessica, Kate and myself) we took a trip to Costco and bought 35 super warm blankets, tons of canned goods like: tuna, beans and chili, breads, peanut butters, milk, fresh fruit, coffee, potatoes, pastries and juice.
After shopping, Tayef and her husband Josh, drove a loaded van right to the Bowery Mission. They said that driving through the decimated city was surreal. It was pitch black in the city, there’s no gas – all the stations are closed. People are suffering terribly.
They said that when the first batch of donations was delivered, the shelter residents were overwhelmed and couldn’t express their gratitude enough. When Josh and Tayef arrived, the shelter was devoid of needed supplies, but by the time they finished dropping off the donations, they had a kitchen full of food & drink.
Today they are going to the second shelter. Hayley said that they are not finished with their efforts and the donations from generous people are still coming….
Please take a moment to consider this: One ticket to the lavish party on Halloween in Waldorf Hotel (pictures I posted above) cost upwards between $10,000 to $60,000 – BUT with only $3000 we were able to buy food for two shelters. Even though there is inequality in, there are people who still want to bridge the gap in NYC….
My personal message to Debra Messing – I love your acting, I admire you as a person, you can do better than dressing as Marie Antoinette while thousands struggle in the aftermath of Sandy. Please check the following website: http://www.communityaccess.org/