Over the past month, we have faced serious challenges after Hurricane Sandy brought flooding, power outages and other serious issues to our coastline. This event negatively impacted thousands of people living along the shore in our state and throughout the northeast region. While life is returning to normal, many communities are just beginning the recovery process and much remains to be done. Thanksgiving week is the opportunity to step back and reflect upon what we are thankful for, whether it is our family, a job, friends or something else. It is also a time to take the opportunity to give back to those who need our help the most. So, this week, I would like to share important information to help guide those who have suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy through the recovery period and how you can help others as well. Shortly after the storm, the Connecticut Insurance Department created a Sandy resource page that can be accessed on the right side of their website. This resource has a listing of toll-free claims phone numbers for more than 100 insurance companies for policyholders to use when filing a claim. If you are having difficulty reaching your insurer, have a claims dispute or have questions on an insurance-related topic, please contact the department by calling 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900. For more information about the process, please visit ct.gov\/CID and click the \u201cSandy Update\u201d link on the right side. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also opened several disaster recovery centers throughout our state to assist homeowners and businesses affected by the storm. Located nearby, the Bridgeport Disaster Recovery Center is now open at Housatonic Community College at 900 Lafayette Blvd. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays, it is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Before visiting the disaster recovery center, please register with FEMA by phone or online. This necessary step can be taken by calling the toll-free phone number 1-800-621-3362. It will be available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You may also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov. There are also several opportunities to give back to the community and to those in our neighboring states who could use our help. The Red Cross has been doing exceptional work in providing assistance to those who were hardest hit during the storm and dealing with many of the challenges affecting food, housing and other necessities. To learn more about donating to the Red Cross and how you can help, please visit their website at www.redcross.org\/Hurricane_Aid. Despite these hardships, we are reminded that we have much to be thankful for. While the past month has been difficult for families, seniors and the poor, Americans always come together to help those in need, and I encourage you to help in any way possible. Many of our local food pantries, shelters and other organizations could use your help by donating food or volunteering your time. I wish you and your family the very best on this Thanksgiving holiday! Sen. Kevin Kelly represents the 21st District, which includes all of Shelton, most of Stratford, and parts of Monroe and Seymour.