ALBANY, NY ( release ) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo joined with hundreds of volunteers to work toward the recovery of the areas devastated by Hurricane Irene as part of "Labor for Your Neighbor," a Labor Day weekend service initiative launched by the Governor.
Today is the first day of "Labor for Your Neighbor," with initial volunteer deployments to Margaretville, Prattsville, and Keene. Governor Cuomo worked in Margaretville to help residents clear debris left by the storm. Members of the Cuomo Administration are also volunteering throughout the state. Over 2,000 New Yorkers signed up to volunteer through the initiative. Additional volunteer sites will be set up in the coming days as the need continues.
"I am proud to be out here today with hundreds of my fellow New Yorkers to help first-hand in the cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Irene," Governor Cuomo said. "The response to our 'Labor for Your Neighbor' program has been overwhelming, but to me it is not surprising. New Yorkers are always ready to lend a hand to help someone in need. In our darkest hours New Yorkers shine the brightest -- and the proof of that can be seen all across New York today."
The "Labor for your Neighbor" initiative taps into the generous instincts of New Yorkers and rallies volunteers to pitch in on local clean-ups of public and private property following the devastation of Hurricane Irene. The initiative organizes New Yorkers interested in helping their neighbors, bringing tools, elbow grease, and volunteers to areas where the storm brought extensive damage. The Governor has visited these areas to assess the damage since the storm hit.
The National Guard and State Office of Emergency Management will supervise the effort. Volunteers will be safely shuttled into areas needing assistance and will be provided with appropriate supervision and equipment.
Major corporations, including Home Depot, WalMart, and Verizon, are supporting the Governor's "Labor for your Neighbor" initiative by supplying cleaning pails, mops, shovels, rakes, cleaning supplies, food, water, and other equipment.
There are many ways for New Yorkers to volunteer or contribute over the coming weeks. New Yorkers interested in making a financial donation to recovery efforts can do so through a centralized effort coordinated by United Way of New York State. United Way has set up a dedicated fund that will take donations for charities and voluntary agencies assisting with recovery efforts in the affected communities. United Way will work with other statewide charitable partners, such as Catholic Charities, United Jewish Appeal, Red Cross, the Food Bank Association, the Community Action Association.
Those who wish to contribute goods rather than funds should directly contact charitable organizations in their areas to determine which will accept such contributions and what items are most needed in the storm relief effort. United Way and the Disaster Relief Centers being set up by New York State with the Federal Emergency Management Agency do not accept non-cash contributions.
New Yorkers interested in volunteering or contributing can do so on the Governor's website: www.governor.ny.gov/laborforyourneighbor.