Community, Recovery in the Aftermath of Sandy

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Big Ang of VH1’s “Mob Wives” prepares food for victims of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, where she lives. She and the other “Mob Wives” actively helped their neighbors in the borough, cleaning up and delivering food to affected residents.

Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York tri-state area and shut down the city in a way no one’s seen before. But as recovery progresses, it is – if nothing else – refreshing to see how our community of employees, fans, partners and stars rallied to help one another in the aftermath of the superstorm. We’ve seen kindness amidst sheer destruction, especially in the hardest-hit areas.

“The devastation from Hurricane Sandy is unprecedented and has left so many struggling to rebuild their lives,” said Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman. “Viacom has always had a strong relationship with the communities it serves and we are proud to step forward once again to help those in need.”

With global headquarters in Times Square and operations in downtown New York City, New Jersey and on Long Island, and more than 4,000 employees who live in the communities directly impacted, the hurricane, quite literally, hit home. The Company is providing support to employees facing both serious hardship and common disruptions through its Viacommunity Employee Relief Program, as well as its commuter and daily life assistance programs.

We’re hopeful that the financial contributions, collections and volunteer efforts from Viacom and our employees, fans and stars (from MTV’s vow to restore the Jersey Shore to Big Ang and the rest of the VH1 Mob Wives getting hands-on with cleanup and food delivery in their native Staten Island) will make a difference to the broader community. In the days immediately following the storm, Viacom announced a combined $1 million in donations to the Mayor’s Fund for NYC and local organizations, and pledged another million through its matching gift program for employees. Of course, our family of networks from BET and CMT to MTV and VH1 have been using their platforms on-air, online and on mobile to drive participation in disaster relief efforts in ways that are most meaningful for their audiences.

And the Jersey Shore, where much of the hit reality show of the same name was filmed before it was ravaged by the storm, will be restored in time – Snooki, Vinny and co. have vowed as much. Hosting a fundraising special out of the MTV studio in Times Square, the cast will host a one-hour special to encourage viewers to aid with relief efforts too by donating online or via text message during and after the event next Thursday, Nov. 15. In partnership with Architecture for Humanity, which provides design and construction services after natural disasters, MTV is collecting donations to help rebuild the Seaside Heights boardwalk and the rebuild of business and residents in the area. 

In the meantime, we’ve got more work to do. Outside of giving financially, there are lots of items to give to the many left homeless by the storm, and the still more without water or heat as the temperatures drop in the area. For anyone interested in helping out, below is a roundup of the Red Cross’s In Kind Partners, leading organizations in New York who’d be delighted to receive your donation items.

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