From India to the LES:

LESReady! hosts visiting disaster management and resiliency professionals

LESReady! Co-Chair and GOLES Executive Director Damaris Reyes discusses the neighborhood’s experience during Superstorm Sandy.

What can someone living in an informal settlement in Mumbai learn from an Occupy Sandy volunteer? How does the state of Kerala monitor and assist its handicapped and disabled residents during a disaster – and what can New York City learn from that system?

These were just some of the topics of conversation between LESReady! members and the Crisis Management and Resilience in Coastal India project, a group of five resiliency professionals visiting the U.S. at the invitation of the State Department.

From April 1 until April 19, the group is visiting Washington, D.C., New York City, North Carolina, New Orleans, and Seattle, learning about efforts to adapt to rising sea levels and other coastal risks. During their time in NYC, they reached out to LESReady! to learn about the role that community-based and non-governmental groups play before, during, and after disasters.

LESReady! was thrilled to host the group and participate in this discussion. As coastal cities around the world adapt to climate change and rising seas, knowledge-sharing and dialogue like this is increasingly important. We hope the lessons learned in the LES are taken back and applied in Chennai, Mumbai, and Kerala!

Thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program for suggesting the meeting and the New York Community Trust for making LESReady’s work possible.

LESReady! Hurricane Relief Statement

The hoard of recent hurricanes have set record breaking and unprecedented flooding throughout the Caribbean and United States, leaving many small islands utterly devastated. As a community filled with boriquas of the diaspora, LESReady! deeply feels for our family in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria brought chaos and devastation to Puerto Rico, which was at one of its weakest states having endured Hurricane Irma just days earlier. Coupled with Puerto Rico’s long recession, and its debt crisis– we must rise to support Puerto Rico.

LESReady! Is a community-centered disaster response group that focuses on the Lower East Side. When Superstorm Sandy hit NYC nearly five years ago, community members, community-based organizations, block and tenant associations banded together to take care of one another. Recognizing the need for more coordination across our community groups in the case of a future disaster, we formed LESReady! the March following Superstorm Sandy.

We remember the support that came far and wide when we were recovering from Sandy.

We remember how low-income communities of color, and those which lie at the margins of our society, were the ones most disparately impacted.

As a long-term community-based recovery group, we know very well that community-based organizations are the first to respond, and perhaps more significantly, will be the last to leave.

For these reasons, it is time that we rise in solidarity of our siblings in the Caribbean. Below, please find suggested places to donate monetarily, a list of local drop-off sites for goods, information on how LESReady! is mobilizing, and our commitment to provide up to date information on how to contact loved ones in Puerto Rico as that information becomes available.

For more information, contact Resiliency Training & Policy Coordinator, Ceci Pineda For links to the recommended donation sites and other websites referred, please visit

In solidarity,

Ayo Harrington and Victoria Lugo
LESReady! Executive Co-Chairs


LESReady! would like to highlight two organizations that are currently raising monetary donations to serve those most at the margins:


LESReady! is closely monitoring immediate supply needs and assessing shipping logistics to establish an LES-wide collection drive for Puerto Rico and other hurricane-impacted areas if logistics allow. If you are interested in being listed as a drop-off location, please fill out your information here.

We would like to also highlight on the ground efforts from fellow community members of the Lower East Side that are currently accepting supply donations in the Lower East Side for families in Puerto Rico:

Smith Houses Tenant Association

(Baseball Field – Robert F. Wagner Sr. Place between >>South Street & Pearl Street)
Saturday, September 30 (12PM8PM)
Selling food to raise donation funds
Accepting packaged goods / supplies

Good Record

218 E 5th Street
Monday – Friday (12P-8P)
Saturday – Sunday (12P-7P)
For information on contact

WhyNotCare & Iglesia Evangelica Bautista

Calle 8 Church
393 E 8th Street
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (4:30P – 8:30P)
Collecting: Toiletries, Diapers, new or clean blankets, water, batteries, dry food, etc.
For more information, contact: 646.783.8123

Engine 28 / Ladder 11

222 East 2nd St (Between B & C)
Monday – Friday (7AM9PM)
Collecting: Diapers, baby food, batteries, first aid supplies, feminine hygiene products
Organized by NYC Mayor’s Office

Lady Tigers Youth Softball Team

428 E 10th Street
Monday – Thursday (6P-9P)
Collecting: Water, non-perishables, toiletries, diapers, and clothing

Loisaida via Eco-Kit Duffle

Place an order for items on the ‘NEEDS LIST’page. Ship items to our pick up center at Loisaida Center. Sorted items are immediately given to Eco-Kits volunteer travelers. Eco-kits get picked up at airports in Puerto Rico by contacted community coordinators and delivered to grass-roots organizations. (Full list on webpage)

The New York City Consulate of Antigua and Barbuda is currently collecting donations at sites through all boroughs for Barbuda. For more information on the priority items being collected and drop-off sites, visit

We are connected to La Red De Apoyo Mutuo a Puerto Rico, a network of individuals and groups throughout the United States that are working on compiling on the ground information. We have expressed the need echoed from fellow community members for information on how to contact loved ones. As we attain more information, we will keep people aware of information on how to contact loved ones as that information emerges.

For a directory of emergency operation centers in Puerto Rico (in Spanish), please click:…/uploa…/2017/09/Oficinas-Regionales.pdf

We remember. We rise. We Resist.