The biggest U.S. shopping day may also be the perfect opportunity to raise relief money for victims of Superstorm Sandy -- the second costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, according to the AP.
"Sandy Friday," a national pledge drive, is asking businesses to donate at least 10 percent of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday profits to community-based Sandy relief efforts, according to the group’s official website.
“It is our goal to be a source of funding for the organizations that are committed to a long-term vision of rebuilding in these communities in the days and months ahead,” one of the initiative's founders wrote in a blog post for good.is.
The storm’s bill is estimated at anywhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in property damages, lost business and extra living expenses, according to the AP.
And "Sandy Friday" co-founders witnessed the damage firsthand.
“Even with 10 people, it took us two hours to clear out a ground floor of soggy drywall and insulation,” one co- founder wrote in a blog post for good.is about volunteering in Rockaway Beach. “We worked in the dark, stripping soaked sheetrock off the ceiling with our hands. This was just one block out of hundreds where the recovery work is just beginning and will require months of effort.”
"Sandy Friday" aims to garner $50,000 in company pledges that will be split between several community organizations in areas like Coney Island, Red Hook, Long Island and the Rockaways. Donations are tax-deductible since they run through the group’s fiscal sponsor, Synchronicity Space, a non-profit gallery in New York City.
"Sandy Friday’s" co-founders, Alia Kate and Lei Zhao, describe themselves as “normal people with day jobs who saw a need and responded.” They point to small grassroots organizations working just as hard as non-profits like the American Red Cross cleaning up storm-ravaged neighborhoods.
“While the outpouring of support and kindness has already been invaluable, the post-Sandy clean-up is long from over,” co-founders write on the organization’s official website, “Sandy’s toll was enormous, but we believe that we have the power and ability to rebuild our home.”
Learn more by visiting sandyfriday.org.