11/14/2012 03:48 pm ET

Charity's Role In America, And Its Limits

Anyone doubting Americans’ charity should visit the Rockaways in Queens. Volunteers from all over the city and beyond have descended upon the devastated communities, providing cash, supplies and assistance to locals marooned in waterlogged homes without food or power. They are helping to fill a void in the government’s sometimes plodding response to the disaster wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

“The government is doing its own thing,” said Brett Scudder, a community advocate from Far Rockaway who has been walking up and down the boardwalk, helping coordinate the relief effort. “They must get things approved. We don’t have time for that now.