Sweatshirts for Sandy

**Update:  As of today, we have collections going in FL, MA, MI, IL, TX, CT, and CA (including four schools in Los Angeles, and a mom group in Marin).  Riley’s kindergarten class has already filled three bags! And…Riley’s three cousins out here in LA have joined her cause and are helping with collecting, packing, and shipping! Can I just say?  My readers (and nieces and nephew) are amazing!  Are YOU next?  Please email me (katiehurleylcsw(at)gmail(dot)com) to coordinate a collection in your area!  

With my mom in town and the images of my hometown under water, it was hard to completely block out the news of hurricane Sandy.  Early predictions pointed toward the potential for major damage to our sleepy little beach town, a town like no other on the Connecticut coast.


For as long as I can remember, it’s always been my happy place.  My family packed up and headed to the beach each June and didn’t return until the very first day of school.  We walked or rode our bikes everywhere, barefoot for two months straight.  Everyone knew everyone else; we were all like family.  Supervision was never an issue.  We had a level of independence that my children might never know…in a town where everybody knows your name you always feel safe and secure.


We attended kiddie dances, kiddie movies, and family night.  We watched fireworks from the beach and walked in the Fourth of July Parade each summer.  Above all, we spent time together as a family.


All of that could have been lost when Sandy touched down.  With back-to-back high tides before the storm even made landfall, the surge forced water into nearly every home and left the beaches in the streets.  Wind and rain ripped docks straight out of the water, leaving them on front yards.  Power lines went down.


But in the end…the houses remained in tact.  The damage is there and there is work to be done, but my little town got lucky in comparison.  My mom didn’t lose her home, and the damage can be fixed.


The beaches will return to their rightful places at some point and the docks will be repaired.  The power is back on.  As the community comes together to assess the damage and help one another with the cleanup, I can’t help but cry for the many, many families who lost everything.


It could have been anyone.  It could have been us.  We just got lucky.


Riley asks frequently about the storm.


Is it really over?


Will Mimi be safe in her house?


We are safe, right?


No amount of minimizing the destruction will convince her that everyone she knows and loves is ok.


Is Sarah ok?


What about John?  Is John ok?


And she wants to help.


Mommy…we HAVE to do something!


We did, Riley.  We gave money to the Red Cross.


No, Mommy…we have to do MORE!  The kids are cold!


For days, she begged me to send her clothes to New York.  She wanted to share what she has.


Together…we hatched a plan.


Riley and I are collecting “Sweatshirts for Sandy”.  I located a New York based agency that is accepting gently worn (no holes, no rips, no broken zippers please) clothing to distribute in the area.


I know your kids are growing like weeds too…so you must have at least one sweatshirt to spare!


And what’s cozier than a sweatshirt?


“Sweatshirts for Sandy” starts today…right this very moment, in fact.  If you are in the Los Angeles area and have some gently worn kids sweatshirts to spare…please email me to arrange a drop.  We will send them off to New York during the week of November 19th.


No sweatshirts to spare but want to help?  As of right now, the shipping is on me…any donations are appreciated!


Live in another area but want to start a “Sweatshirts for Sandy” collection near you?  Email me to discuss!


Let’s work together to help a few families in need right now.  Every little bit helps…


Thank you, Practical readers…as always, I appreciate you.


**Check back early next week for details on how Target and I will work together to give some holiday gifts to hurricane survivors this holiday season…



About Katie

Katie Hurley is a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She works in private practice in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, writes for PBS Parents, Washington Post Parents, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015) and "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" (Penguin Random House, 2018)