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    Updated November 21, 2012

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Drive 111 Surpasses Goal in Sandy Recovery Effort

Lion King cast members and volunteers Willia Noel Montague and Steven L. Taylor with Drive 111 Co-coordinator Lisa Nicole Wilkerson

Drive 111, a four-day, grassroots campaign to collect 111 items of warmth, garnered incredible success, largely due to the theater community's great generosity. With one day's notice, Drive 111 surpassed its goal, collecting approximately 200 items, including 77 coats/jackets/hoodies, 14 blankets, and a plethora of hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters, shirts, socks, fleece robes, pants, shorts and shoes. I learned, if you feel it, do it, and the support will come.

Drive 111 was born from: 1) a realization that Hurricane Sandy altered and took lives, but barely changed mine, so I had to help; 2) a conversation with my friend, Rakhi Bahadkar, who felt similarly inspired. We developed the concept on a Monday. Tuesday, we solidified dates, typed up our ideas and secured the Minskoff Theater as our drop-off point. Wednesday, I sent out notices while Rakhi Bahadkar researched relief sites. Thursday, day one, AEA posted notices throughout its building, on its website, Twitter and Facebook pages, and I place flyers in nearly all of the Broadway theaters. By mid-day Friday, the donation bin was nearly full. Sunday, it was overflowing. With two volunteers, we sorted, counted stuffed a minivan to capacity, drove to Breezy Point, Queens, and donated the items to a disaster relief site yards away from the 111 demolished homes, where the inspiration for this drive's title was derived.

A man who helps run the site asked where we were from. We answered Harlem and Long Island. With a heartfelt heaviness, laced with what I gleaned was an all too intense knowledge of both the devastation and the literal and figurative distances people traversed to help, he said, "God bless you."

I pass this sentiment to you. Thank you to all who participated. There is still work to do, but the beacon of hope is how (our) community pulls together in times of need.

AEA member Lisa Nicole Wilkerson

The Actors Fund Helps Our Entertainment Community Hurt by Superstorm Sandy

Itís a stressful time for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, but itís no surprise that the theatre community has continued their tradition of generosity by diving in to help friends, neighbors and fellow citizens affected by the storm. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDSí recent gift of $250,000 to help with Hurricane relief efforts ($100,000 of which was awarded to The Actors Fund to help our community specifically) is just one example.

The theatre community takes great pride in helping others. But where do we turn when help is needed?

Remember, The Fund is there for Actorsí Equity members across the country in times of crisis. They are responding quickly to those in our community who have been impacted by the storm, by providing emergency financial assistance, social services and connection to community benefits and government resources.

Within two weeks of the storm, they responded to more than 450 requests for help, and have provided emergency financial assistance for immediate needs like housing or shelter, food, transportation and access to essential medications and medical care.

Learn more about how The Fund can help you. To find local resources or to download an application for The Fundís Superstorm Sandy Emergency Assistance Fund visit

Audition Center Updates

If you have any questions about the Audition Monitors, go to the Member Portal and check the Frequently Asked Questions

Equity Theatres Recovering from Hurricane Sandy

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the NJ and Long Island coast lines, Equity theatres were struggling to recover from the effects of the "Frankenstorm, " which has cost billions of dollars to the region's economy and tragically taken more than 100 lives. The damage, suffering and recovery efforts were compounded by a strong nor'easter which came a week later, blanketing the region with an early snow-fall.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Governor Cuomo Announces Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance Now Available to New Yorkers Affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Read more... (link opens in new window)

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