Newark Mayor Cory Booker Got You All Hot Pockets

Over the past two weeks, the whole country (or, at least, the part of the country that pays attention to things that are relevant) has kept an eye on the response to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy and the stupid, stupid Nor’easter that followed it. Our elected officials have been held under particular scrutiny for how they handled the storm; President Obama’s response secured an endorsement from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and may have swayed a number of undecided voters in his reelection.

One politician whose response to the hurricane has been celebrated around the Internet is Newark mayor Cory Booker, who took to Twitter to respond directly to his constituents who were without power, dealing with flooding, and sometimes worse. He offered hurricane evacuees into his home. But it was one particular tweet that commanded more attention from non-New Jersey residents than most. When Newark resident Tyree Humes tweeted at Mayor Booker to let him know he was “running out of hotpockets,” Booker responded, “I believe in you. I know this is a problem you can handle.” Naturally, this went viral, because the Internet.

Well, the people at the Hot Pockets company saw an opportunity, and wrote a letter to the mayor which simultaneously feels a little icky and opportunistic and also well-intentioned and a “helping the only way we know how” kind of situation. An excerpt:

“We read the tweet between you and one of your constituents referencing the fact that he had run out of Hot Pockets sandwiches, and it made us think that we could do a little bit to help. Enclosed, please find coupons for free Hot Pockets that you can give out to people who stop by your home, or anyone else you feel could use them. We’re also sending some to Tyree Humes who sent you the tweet.

We realize that there is much work ahead to rebuild and move on, but we wanted to make this small gesture to help. We wish you, the people of Newark and all those affected by the storm the best of luck in recovery, rebuilding and returning to normalcy as soon as possibly.”   

Obviously, there are things the people of Newark, and much of the Eastern Seaboard at large, still need more than Hot Pockets. Some need toilet paper, gas or water. Some are still without electricity. But after an impossibly rough couple of weeks, sometimes it’s nice to not only know that an elected official is actually listening to and communicating with his constituents, but also to have just a totally weird chain reaction of events that will hopefully make someone, somewhere smile. And get a free Hot Pocket. In the meantime, you can help residents with the essentials via these wish lists created by Occupy Sandy, Matthew Titone and more. BlackBook and VIBE Media also have a Hurricane Sandy relief fund, which you can contribute to here

Restaurants, Bars, and Food People Pull Together For Charity

Well, since just about everything planned this week and weekend was cancelled, what else is there to do but drink, and give a little back to those who lost a lot during Hurricane Sandy? All across the city, food folk are pulling together to host fundraising dinners, cocktail hours, and get-togethers to help pull New York City back on its feet. We already posted about the dinner by Momofuku and Café Boulud, but here are some other ways you can help, and in comes cases, eat and drink too.

On the Upper West Side, the yet-to-be-opened Casa Pomona is throwing a Hurricane Sandy relief dinner on Monday. For $75 you get wine and a four-course dinner. The best part, as you enjoy their lamb stew with mint, it will go down easier knowing all profits are being sent to New York Cares.

In SoHo the power is back at City Winery where they will be hosting a Hurricane Sandy Free Film Festival today. It started at 12:30, but you can still look forward to catching When Harry Met Sally at 3pm, Sidewalks of New York at 5pm, and Manhattan at 7:30. They will be serving light snacks and drinks, cash only, and if you need to, you can recharge your electronics. 

Sadly, Speed Rack’s Sunday event got postponed, but on the upside, the founders are turning their efforts into “Back the Rack,” and putting energy toward helping folk in the service industry by cleaning and rebuilding destroyed restaurants and bars. You can volunteer by filling out a form here.

Watch Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, the benefit concert and telethon featuring Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Jimmy Fallon, and Sting tonight at 8pm at Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg. There, aside from broadcasting the show, they will be collecting toiletries, canned food, socks, clothes, batteries, and whatever else you want to give.

Also in Williamsburg, The Meat Hook and Brooklyn Kitchen are collecting goods to help people and businesses in the Rockaways, which, in case you didn’t know were obliterated.  Nearby at Union Pool, they are also supporting the Rockaways and the bar is putting together musicians and artists for a benefit show. If you want to be a part of it, you can email them here: info@union-pool.com.

On Monday you can hit up Clinton Hill’s The Fulton Grand bar for Hilary Krishnan’s Barman’s Fund shift. Every penny she gets in tips from 3 to 9pm will go to local charities, which, as she so eloquently says, “they need ‘em more than ever.”