A group takes advantage of Amazon's gift registry to get donations to storm victims.
Occupy Sandy isn't getting married. But it would like a gift all the same.
The volunteer group -- an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, focused on helping victims of the storm -- is using an especially clever hack of an existing system: Amazon's gift registry service. Those displaced by the storm, the group realized, need blankets. They need flashlights. They need hygiene products. They need a bunch of things that are orderable -- with that famous one-click efficiency -- through Amazon. Now, anyone who uses Amazon can buy them those things, and have them shipped to the area hardest hit by the storm. Victims need stuff; people want to give them stuff; Occupy Sandy, via Amazon, is bringing them together.
The registry started, coordinator John Heggestuen told me, with a particularly frustrating phenomenon: a thwarted attempt at volunteering. Heggestuen and two of his friends -- Alex Nordenson and Katherine Dolan -- went to a shelter on Friday in an attempt to volunteer there. "They didn't have anything for us to do," Heggestuen said in an email, "so we went to the Occupy Sandy location at 520 Clinton Ave (Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew)." And "there was a tremendous effort there."