I Need Your Help: You Decide How Much I Donate to Storm Relief

I was supposed to be in New York this past weekend, and it was a pleasure trip, so I cancelled it (for obvious reasons).

I grew up on Long Island, and have family on Staten Island. My uncle there, a first-responder, has been a part of search and rescue efforts. My family is fortunate to all be ok and to have just property damaged.

The storm there is shocking in so many ways, and almost a week later they’ve only just scratched the surface of recovery.

Mommy Points came up with an idea of ‘Comments for Contributions.’ The original idea was something like ‘100 for $100’ where a blogger would donate $1 per comment, up to $100.

But bloggers can be a competitive bunch, and a collaborative bunch too, and we’ve challenged each other to do a bit more. The combined comments (in a designated thread) on each of six blogs:

…will determine how much is donated, up to 1800 comments in total for $1800 in contributions.

Living in DC I was only barely affected by the storm, sure the city shut down for a couple of days but I lost power for less than 18 hours. I’ve been lucky in so many ways.

So I’m glad that the group of six of us can both give to assist in relief efforts, and also help engage our readership in that effort as well.

More on how you can help decide how much I donate in a moment. First, a word on how you can make donations, while tapping into either matching contributions from travel providers or mileage-earning incentives (or both!) at the same time.

Mommy Points put together a list of mileage-earning opportunities for contributions and also mileage donation opportunities, along with help from Wandering Aramean who lives in Lower Manhattan.

Now, here’s how you can help right now and in this post.

I don’t usually like talking about my own charitable giving, I feel like charity shouldn’t be ‘showy’ and at least speaking purely personally I prefer to do it quietly.

But there’s this challenge on the table to help and the involvement device of a comment helps bring more attention to giving for others perhaps and generating some incremental social excitement could help spur involvement from others. So I’m willing to break my own rules or at least strong preferences here.

Leave a comment about the storm, either how you were affected, what you’re doing to help, or how it’s weighed on you.

The six of us will collectively donate $1 for every comment received in the relevant post on our blogs. Leave a comment here in this post by Noon Eastern on Thursday, November 8th. The goal is $1800 to charity to support relief from the storm.

In that way, you can help direct my charitable dollars and those of three other bloggers to hurricane relief.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I live in midtown Manhattan and was lucky to never lose power. Instead I made frozen drinks for those affected…

  2. I live in CT and not affected by Storm this year. Donated few dollars to Red Cross. My prayers go for the people who were affected. Last year during winter storm we were out of power for a week and it was terrible. My support for your effort. Thanks.

  3. My suggestion is this:

    How about you donate your credit card referral kickbacks from any applicant in DE, MD, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, and NH from the past year, plus any from the next year. That would really add up, and help us get back on our feet! Many of us have lost a lot, not just money, but our sense of safety, our homes, pictures of loved ones from the past….irreplaceable.

    I think donating those referral fees is just the right thing to do, and I hope you can get the rest of the “first class” bloggers to join in. Maybe they could join most of the rest of us in coach once in a while!

  4. Pawtime, would you be willing to put up the same amount that you’re suggesting Gary donate?

  5. I live inland CT and really didn’t have much damage near me but still lost my power for 5 days.

  6. First of all, I live in new york and I have seen the damage firsthand. I have also had my grandmother lose her house multiple times to hurricanes down in New Orleans. I would like to say thank you Gary for your assistance. Please ignore all the trolls criticizing the way you are choosing to donate. When it comes to charity, it is a highly personal choice. I don’t know your financial state, I don’t know what other causes you give to, and it is not my place, nor the place of others to question you when you are trying to do something nice. Thank you for your help.

  7. Neat idea. Best of luck to those affected by the storm. I am fortunate: I am on the left coast.

  8. From a Hoboken NJ resident who thankfully sustained just a little damage and just got power back Saturday, thanks for what you’re doing to support my neighbors and everyone else affected by the storm.

  9. Thanks for the information. However, you need to edit your post. Hilton is giving 10 points per dollar, not 110 as your post states.

  10. Small beer compared to most, but my Missus had to go the long way home from MIA to avoid Sandy. Keep up the good work here.

  11. Another dollar raised! Luckily the storm did not have as much an affect on me as it did on others in NYC. For once the UES was the cool place to be.

  12. Some friends are currently homeless. Hopefully temporarily. One on Long Beach Island NJ, and one in Long Beach NY.

  13. I donated $100 to Americares because I had just
    watched people on TV being interviewed in Staten Island dissing the red cross. I donated through the united airlines link.

  14. We had a 2 hour delay (I’m a teacher), I’m far enough away to not have deal with anything other than some rain. Unfortunately, I can only donate money. My church has a sister church in Manhattan and they said to not send people to volunteer yet because more people just take more resources. Great idea with the other bloggers!

  15. Was not directly affected by the storm as I live in upstate NY, but my friends lost power for a couple of days. And this is a great initiative!

  16. I’m from Long Island too! It’s been heartbreaking to see my hometown (East Rockaway, near Oceanside and Lynbrook, not part of “the Rockaways”) have so much damage and so many of my friends lose their homes. Thank you for doing this!

  17. As someone who was directly in the eye of the storm but suffered absolutely no damage, I’m torn on this “let’s donate for hurricane relief” stuff. The two things most folks still suffering in NYC and New Jersey still need are power and gasoline. I don’t see how these donations — or ANY donations — will speed this relief.

    Otherwise, there will obviously be rebuilding expenses. Most of those expenses will obviously be borne by government and private individuals (or, more realistically, their insurance companies). Does any of this disaster relief money go to rebuilding? And to whom? It just seems like donors would get “more bang for their buck” if they could pick a small charity (let’s rebuild a park) instead of a macro relief donation where nobody knows where the money will go.

  18. My dad and brother live in southern Connecticut and were without power for almost a week. Luckily both they and their house were fine. Even though it was a bad situation, I realized it could be a lot worse. For them it was just a major inconvenience. For others, it’s a dire situation. Thousands aren’t just waiting for the power to come back on at home, they’re waiting to have homes again. I really feel for these people and it’s great that you and the other Boarding Area bloggers want to do something to help.

  19. Best thing to come out of the Superstorm: people coming together to help one another through the tough times.

    Great job to Gary and the other bloggers in donating and helping out the relief efforts!

  20. Live in Uptown Manhattan, was spared the wrath of Sandy but missed work and class due to this and subway being shut down. Helped out by providing relatives in Zone A to crash at my place.

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