I am an eternal optimist, and I truly believe that people are good. The devastation from hurricane Sandy has left tens of thousands of people without the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. The people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been working together, and working tirelessly, to help those who need it most. Donations have been pouring in, but more is needed.

Let me start with some art (of course!). I just love how small, grass-roots efforts within communities can create such beautiful graphics to promote their fundraiser and raise money for needy people. Necessity really is the mother of invention, I always say, and creativity abounds in times of need. It’s awesome.

Here are many ways in which you can help, from volunteering, to donating money or goods, to setting up your own fundraiser:

Help Masbia soup kitchen feed 600+ relocated seniors in the Park Slop, Brooklyn area. For only $6 you can feed one person a hot, nutritious meal.

City Meals on Wheels feeds home-bound elderly New Yorkers and they need to replenish their warehouse. They could also use volunteers to help deliver food.

City Harvest uses donated food, which they call rescued food, to feed the 1.7 million New Yorkers who are currently living in poverty, giving food to nearly 600 community programs.

Occupy Sandy is a coalition of people and organizations who are establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. They have created a unique way to help by setting up a registry on Amazon, making it very easy to get goods delivered directly. They need things like flashlights, ziploc bags, brooms and toiletries.

Operation Shove-it Sandy is a Facebook initiative helping victims in Staten Island. they eliminate the middleman and distribute supplies directly to victims.

Recovers.org is a recovery organizing site that allows people to offer/request assistance for their community. You can donate and help out specific neighborhoods.

The bungalow community in the Rockaways were hit hard. They have set up their own website, RockawayHelp, where you can give help and get help.

The residents of Hoboken, NJ, have been displaced and/or have lost most of their belongings due to flood waters. Many businesses were completely flooded. You can donate to RebuildHoboken.com and help that struggling community.

The most helpless victims of all are the animals. Help assist local rescue groups by donating to Best Friends Animal Society.

Tunnel to Towers is a non-profit that was set up for a fallen NY fireman after 9/11. Donate now and help with a door-to-door initiative based on Staten Island. It’s also serving Brooklyn and Long Beach on Long Island.

NY Cares needs gently used or new coats as part of a citywide coat drive.

If shopping is your thing, you can buy these items and 100% of profits will go to hurricane relief: New York State of Mind necklace with serious swag, amazing I Still Love NY t-shirt, clever + graphic Heal Hoboken t-shirt, coolest Print Aid NYC posters. And this gorgeous NYC Calendar can be yours for $24 with 30% of proceeds helping the relief effort.

Do you love yoga and live in NYC? Get on your mat and help make a difference. With a stellar lineup of rockstar teachers, join them for classes on Thursday 11/15. 100% of proceeds go to The Mayor’s Fund.

You can by diapers for the littlest Sandy victims.

None of this sounds good? You can go to Volunteer Match and find something that suits your needs!

And there is always the Red Cross.

Do you want to set up your own fundraiser? It’s easy with sites like Indiegogo, First Giving, and Crowdrise.

Let’s all do something right now, TODAY.

{Bake sale poster via A Cup of Jo}