The devastation and suffering wrought by Hurricane Sandy has inspired incredible waves of community-driven, volunteer support initiatives to help those in need. From Occupy Wall Street's massive mobilization to countless religious and service organizations coalescing, New Yorkers are doing their best to fill those voids still left by The Red Cross and FEMA.
With the New York Marathon cancelled and countless runners still in the area – including local runners and those from around the world – Jordan Metzl decided to do something. Metzl, 46, a sports medicine doctor from New York, two days ago created New York Runners in Support of Staten Island on Facebook.
The result? Over 1,000 marathoners today are running supplies all over Staten Island, with the Facebook page acting as a central information center relaying where people need goods and what is needed.
Today as many as 500 runners, all wearing orange and carrying backpacks stuffed with essentials such as batteries, prepaid mobile phones, gift cards, baby wipes, personal hygiene items, medicine, garbage bags, hats and gloves, traveled on the 8:30 a.m. ferry to Staten Island.
“We have our courses mapped out and we’ll use our legs to do charitable work,” Metzl said. “The running community is the most charitable community I know. People say runners are selfish, but that’s not true. Runners are always running for a cause.”
A further 500 or so runners waited at the ferry terminal for later crossings, while other marathoners ran wearing their numbers in Central Park and along the Hudson River bike trail.
Ryan Devereaux, writing for The Guardian, watched some of the runners while reporting in the field:
Runners organize for Staten Island. Photo by @reenajade
Runners gather to board the Staten Island Ferry. Photo by @911BUFF.
Nine marathoners with backpacks were seen running down the sidewalk alongside Hyland Boulevard in Midland Beach in Staten Island on Sunday morning.These efforts are continuing throughout the day as needs are posted on Facebook and the runners become absorbed into the general, massive volunteer efforts already underway to help those in Staten Island, the Rockaways and elsewhere who still need help.
"We're running out to areas of Staten Island that need supplies," said Sarah Hammond, who was carrying 25 pounds of baby wipes, diapers, dog food, clothes and personal hygiene items on her back.