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Jan 30th 2013

Hurricane Sandy: Three Months Later and the Work Continues

This past October, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, destroying homes and lives in thousands of communities - including 329 Patch towns. Three months later, Forest Hills Patch's Local Editor Matthew Hampton traveled with the American Red Cross Disaster Relief team to see how efforts to help those affected in the Rockaways have continued months after Superstorm Sandy.

The Patch editor spoke with volunteers, locals and the Red Cross, getting a firsthand account of how residents have been making do during extremely challenging times. Lines of people deprived of food continue to rely on the emergency response vehicles that readily deliver food directly to those who need it most.

Patch is proud to support the efforts of the Red Cross and the many other organizations and individuals providing relief to those impacted by Sandy. Our editors and staff continue to provide around-the-clock coverage and essential information for those areas and beyond.

Watch as Patch rides along with the Red Cross in the Rockaways, on Forest Hills Patch!

Nov 9th 2012

AOLers Respond to Sandy

From helping impacted communities, to offering a hand for colleagues in need, when Super Storm Sandy hit, AOL employees responded immediately. Employees packed over two tractor trailers worth of food, water and supplies in Dulles, VA, and Baltimore and donations were sent to ravaged areas in New Jersey and Long Island. When the power went out, AOL connected New Yorkers with one another by partnering with Boingo to provide free wifi throughout Manhattan and north of 34th street. Less than 48 hours after the storm, an internal message board was created where employees could offer resources, including food, water, and electricity, or ask for help. Within hours the message board was flooded with comments such as "I live Uptown and have power, water and everything is normal up here. Email me if you need a place to go. "

AOL continues its relief efforts, as thousands are still without power. AOL.com is featuring an ongoing Red Cross module encouraging users to click-to-donate. The module alone has currently raised over $35K and counting. To date, 94 AOLers have donated nearly $12,000 to Hurricane Sandy disaster relief effort. AOL has committed to match another $10,000 to The Red Cross because of these efforts.

Below is a gallery of AOLers in action as they help our communities. To make a donation visit: https://donate.networkforgood.org/aol.

Nov 8th 2012

Working at AOL...From Your Upper East Side Apartment

Given the catastrophic events that took place this past week during and following historic Hurricane Sandy, it seemed fitting to reflect on some of the things I learned while working from home (in my case, my Upper East Side studio apartment). Our offices were in the "dead" zone of Manhattan, and with that said, most of us with power and Internet remained holed up for the week in our homes, doing our absolute bests to keep business going as usual. Inspired by a Gawker post, I have decided to put together a list of a few things I learned while working from home (known as WFH) this week:

1. Mayor Bloomberg needs to take a Spanish refresher course -- Oh El Bloombito
2. Going to the gym twice (once to run, once to spin) saves you from complete and total isolation. While most of NYC shut down, Equinox remained open throughout the storm (minus downtown locations) with a normal class schedule in effect. And yes, people were there in full force.
3. Living on the Upper East Side during a downtown blackout meant the renaissance of uptown life...84th and 2nd, anyone?
4. When the news got repetitive the new "Pandora" became NetFlix. Saved by the Bell, The Hills, The Wonder Years, Dawson's Creek...never looked so good. This was, of course, once Full House and Boy Meets World morning reruns were over.
5. Once they resumed from being preempted by storm coverage, we quickly saw that no one on our favorite soap opera had aged a day since we watched it 5 years ago. Something's never do change.
6. Peanut butter and fluff is no longer something only kindergarteners can get away with eating. With two-hour wait times on Seamless Web, anything goes.
7. Getting dressed and putting on makeup after six days in pajamas is an incredibly difficult task.
8. Going back to a daily commute and being in an office never sounded so good. But, when you're almost at the subway, and you get an email about no heat or hot water at the office, It's back to pajamas you go, at least for another day.
9. While it's been a relaxing six days, I am seriously hoping WFH/WFA does not become the new normal.
10. We remain very glad our boyfriends have returned to Wall Street even if we were the only ones here on the UES that never lost power, and our friends who live on Wall Street still remain hurricane refugees.

Most importantly (with all kidding aside), I learned that I work for a company that truly appreciates each and every one of its employees and takes our values to heart – specifically when it comes to helping our fellow peers. While I heard talks of people potentially having to use their vacation days for the week they were unable to work, or having to walk 90 blocks in the cold as they had already waited an hour to squeeze on a bus just to get to their offices, we were told to work from our homes or wherever we could get things done and not be inconvenienced with the hour long commutes others were forced to endure, which continued into the week following power restoration. I don't know too many people who would tell you their CEO sent a company wide email offering impacted employees the ability to book transportation and hotels to areas that were not as burdened by disaster as the tri-state area was. All of this, in addition to our colleagues in Dulles and Baltimore rallying together to get supplies and necessities to the areas hit by this mass destruction, allowed me to emphatically say I have never been so proud to be an AOL employee - we truly are in the business of helping people, period, now more than ever in most of our lifetimes – helping ourselves.

Furthermore, our CEO and many of our executives organized tractors overflowing with donations from fellow AOLers to Long Island and New Jersey. Along with the tractors, large vans filled with AOLer's came along to help hand out the supplies.

Click here for more from our hyper local news source Patch.

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