Have you submitted scans? Behold our go-to info page for registered families. Including how to download files, how long the process takes, where to purchase prints + how to track your family's files on Flickr.

Can I phone you for help? I am a senior citizen &/or am not internet savvy. 

We'd be glad to speak with you over the phone! Please ask a friend or relative to inform us that you'll be requiring special assistance by writing to careforsandy2 (at) gmail.com. CARE volunteers use home telephone numbers which we'd prefer to not publish on the internet. 

How will my restorations be sent to me?

CARE for Sandy will notify you by e-mail each time a volunteer has completed at least one restoration for your family. Please remember that we will not be providing physical prints, and that notifications will continue to arrive for many months if not years, as the process is a long one. So make sure to let us know if your e-mail address changes.

When a new restoration is ready, you will receive at least two high-resolution digital (.jpg) files of your image, provided via e-mail as Google Drive download links. (We do not send physical attachments as our files are very big.) You will not need a Gmail nor Google Drive account to access these downloads. A pictorial "How to Download" guide is referenced below. Or watch the following video. (Click on the mini rectangle icon on the lower right corner of the video to fill your computer screen.)

*IMPORTANT: Your files will "download" to wherever your computer stores downloads by default. Ask a tech knowledgeable family member, friend or neighbor to help you if you're not sure where your computer stores downloads or if this all sounds like Greek. You can also cut and paste a file name to conduct a "search" for that file. Your computer should locate the file on your computer for you, if it's been downloaded. 


Help! I can't see or download the files you've e-mailed.

Eek! Can't access your files? Some PC users have experienced difficulties when clicking on the icons/buttons. Try individually copying and pasting the loose urls that have been provided in your notification e-mail, into a new browser "www" window, then press the Return key. You should now be able to see and download your files.

Why have I been e-mailed more than one copy of the same image?

(RGB) = for inkjet printers

(CMYK) = for laser printers *May look washed out -or- overly saturated on a computer screen, but will print beautifully

(BW) = for any printer type

(splice) = low-resolution before/after comparison for web-sharing, only

If a restoration was originally black and white, we may also send a sepia-tinted varation.

Can you help me learn how to download and access my digital files?

Sure! Take a look at the following screenshots. Your initial e-mail notification will look something like this, and will begin with a loooooong file name and the phrase, "I've shared an item with you":

To access your files, click on the "folder" -or- your LAST, FIRST name -or- (use your mouse to) click on the name of each individual file. Like the ones seen below.

When you click on an individual file, it should look similar to this screenshot. To download your files, look for the yellow highlighted areas. Click the button that says "download" in the lower right , or the downward pointing black arrow in the upper left. 

How do you decide which photos to restore first? 

We don't. Volunteers do. Here's why...

You may remember that you were asked to nominate one "MOST CHERISHED" photo. "MOST CHERISHED" photos are stored in their own unique selection album so that volunteer restorers know which to prioritize. You were also asked to designate your "TOP 2-10". Remaining images (#11 and beyond) are placed in albums categorized by skill level.

As of 2014, we also now maintain a HIGH PRIORITY Flickr set, to ensure that our least adopted families are receiving attention.

Restoration Volunteers are encouraged to restore ADOPT ME! Most CherishedADOPT ME! TOP 2-10 and HIGH PRIORITY images first, but may freely choose any image that appeals as long as it matches a volunteer's staff-approved skill level. Consequently, an exact 'order' cannot be determined.

Will ALL of my photos be restored?

Have you submitted 8 photos? Probably. Have you submitted 20 photos? Maybe. Have you submitted 50-100* photos? Not likely. We hope to eventually restore at least 10 photos for every registered family, a goal that has been 67% fulfilled. That's at least 15,000 hours of Photoshop labor, and 100 FREE hours (on average) of Photoshop labor per family, not including scanning, volunteer correspondences nor administrative hours.

Restoration completions will depend how many have been submitted and how badly each original has been impaired. Lightly to moderately damaged photos are MUCH easier to repair, so will probably be returned to families in vaster quantities. Severely damaged advanced images may take days if not WEEKS (yes! we said weeks!) to restore apiece, which is one reason why such services would normally cost hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, very few of our volunteers are proving to possess the necessary skills with which to repair severely damaged photos. That said, staff is making every effort to ensure that every family's photos receive equal attention.

Thus far, families have received up to 55 completed restorations. (An 'adoption' is a Restoration In Progress.) Though these completion numbers will NOT be apt examples moving forward, as we had far fewer images during our 'early' months, which benefitted our early registrants greatly. We're currently helping over 150 families and have roughly 4,350 photos in circulation.

*11/10/13 - 2/24/13 we offered up to 100 scans. **2/25/13 - 4/1/13 we offered up to 50 scans. 

How long will it take to restore my photos(s)?

We cannot answer this question!!! 

Your first image may be 'adopted' within the first two weeks! Or it may take several months before your first is selected. As for all or most of your images? We wish we possessed a crystal ball. That said, once a given scanned photo has been chosen and formally assigned, CARE for Sandy is asking all Restoration Volunteers to commit to ship shapin' each select within no more than 3 months, on good faith. 

Timing for the 'rest' or 'some' of your images will depend on a variety of factors: how many submissions are received, how many Restoration Volunteers (especially those with intermediate to advanced skills) step forward to help and the severity of a given photo's damage. 85% of returned restorations are also sent back for further coached improvements.

CARE for Sandy and its volunteers will continue to restore your photos for years to come, as long as volunteers remain willing to do so. Thanks for your patience.

Shoot. You mean I won't be able to gift a finished restoration for holidays, birthdays or anniversaries?

We are not paying volunteers to help restore photos, and cannot demand that a restoration be completed by date xx/xx/xx. But watch our ADOPTED! gallery closely! If you spot one of your photos here, this means that a volunteer has chosen 'your' photo to restore. Notate the volunteer name and date below your photo to calculate (*counting 3 months forward) how soon each particular photo might make it's way to you.

*Our volunteers have agreed to commit to a 3-month time frame on good faith, but CARE for Sandy cannot absolutely guarantee completion within 3-months. 

How can I tell when an image has been chosen by a volunteer?

Visit our ADOPTED! album. If you spot one of your photos here, this means that a volunteer has chosen 'your' photo to restore. Notate the volunteer name and date below your photo to calculate (*counting 3 months forward) how soon each particular photo might make it's way to you. 

We can also provide your family "code" to use as a search term in our Flickr photostream, to admire all of your family scans in one locale. You can then visit each uploaded scan to review its current status. Send an e-mail to request your "code" or to request a general status update.

*Our volunteers have agreed to commit to a 3-month time frame on good faith, but CARE for Sandy cannot absolutely guarantee completion within 3-months. 

Have volunteers been sticking to their 3-month completion commitments?

Get ready for a statistic that has greatly surprised: Over 300 images have been abandoned by individual volunteers as well as schools. This means a given volunteer has been sent a requested image, but has never bothered to return a restoration and/or has not responded to update inquiries. 75% who have abandoned images also never let us know they no longer intend to restore their chosen photo(s). Abandonded images frustrate us just as much as they frustrate you. In fact staff has spent over 150 administrative hours attempting to track down awolers. When this occurs, we're doing our best to prioritize abandoned images by seeking out new volunteers.

Additionally, sometimes volunteers request deadline extensions. So your restoration may not always be ready in 3 months, i.e. "on time". 

Are there types of damage that cannot be digitally repaired? How high should I set my expectations?

Good question. Restoration Volunteers will able to digitally repair most imperfections — including minor to moderate mildew, mold, water stains, general discoloration, nicks, scratches and tears. But our honest answer is, “Yes.” Certain images may be too severely compromised to fully repair. By example while it may be possible to fuse a mauled or missing nose or hand with that of an alternate no-cost creative commons image, if an entire face has been compromised, we may not be able to save it. Then again if a given photo’s background is too damaged or complex to convincingly reconstruct, but its figures seem ‘okay’, a partial or approximate restoration may be achieved. In a worst-case-scenario situation our volunteers may opt to create a vignette, disguise heavily blemished areas, remove an individual from a group shot (if they cannot be saved) or strip in a new but similar background.

Here's an example which exemplifies "too dirty and damaged to repair".

CARE for Sandy will be assessing all submissions individually, and will let ‘you’ know what to expect from ‘your’ restoration(s).

Don't you provide photographic prints, too?!

No. Many families have mistakenly presumed that CARE for Sandy provides prints. We do not. We are not a formal not-for-profit and do not have the funding nor resources to do so. Waiting in line at the post office, making prints, addressing and wrapping prints takes time! Plus prints, protective envelopes and shipping cost money! Restorations are provided as digital files. Printing is up to you.

I've heard about your CARE Packages program. Can I participate?

Our CARE Packages program pairs well-wishing donors who have offered to print, frame and ship a beautiful restored photo for a staff-chosen family, for FREE. If you would like your photos to be considered, let us know via e-mail. (We've not informed all families as of yet, since despite vast outreach, very few donors have registered.)

Where can I purchase prints of my restorations?

If you consider yourself technologically-challenged, we recommend asking a savvy friend or family member to assist. There are ooooooodles of vendors that can help you create beautiful prints. Some will require you to upload your digital files over the internet. Others can be accessed in person. Some offer both. Ask around for recommendations!

If you want to visit a local vendor in person, place your images on a CD/DVD or inexpensive portable usb flash drive (like this one or this one or this one). Image dimensions will likely be imprecise, but printing technicians should be able to resize your image for you beautifully.

Unless otherwise directed, you should submit the file we've sent that ends like this: "_RGB.jpg". (It is actually what is referred to as "sRGB", the color profile of choice for online vendors.)

Honchos like CostcoCVSWalgreen's and OfficeMax also make prints, as do mainstream cyber services like snapfish and shutterfly. Though quality will probably differ wildly. Your photos are precious. Don't be tempted to let a few ¢ or $ be your sole deciding factor. Remember that old fashioned independent photo labs make digital prints as well, and may be more willing to take greater care with your images, as good service is essential to the survival of this ilk o' dinosaur. 

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are a few blogs that have compared and contrasted a variety of photo printing services. Visit to learn what their authors recommend, and why:

Will it be possible to obtain copies of my damaged scans?

( 1 ) If computer savvy, you can ask us to e-mail a compressed .zip containing all of your damaged scans via share service, wetransfer.com

( 2 ) Damaged scanned images from our website galleries can be copied to your desktop at any time. Click on a desired small photo. After the larger version has fully loaded on-screen, click on the image using your mouse and without letting go 'drag' the image to your desktop. (This method must be completed one image at a time.)

( 3 ) If you would be willing to buy a small, light-weight, inexpensive portable usb flash drive (like this one or this one or this one) and can mail it to CARE for Sandy's founder with a prepaid SASE envelope, we can copy your scans onto the drive and mail it back to you. Drives needn't be larger than 2 gigs. You should be able to buy one for $4-$8 dollars. 

*CARE' for Sandy's founder doesn't wish to publicly display her home address, but is totally willing to share this with families who would like to coordinate a file exchange. Write to careforsandy (at) gmail.com if you would like to send us a flash drive, and her address will be provided.

How many restoration specialists have signed up to help with my photo(s)?

Response has been spectacular. Since CARE for Sandy's inception (11/10/12) roughly 600 have signed up to help restore photos from all over the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England (UK), Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland (UK), Israel, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates. Although from this pool, only around 225 have submitted restorations. Many have yet to adopt images at all. Volunteer activity arrives in waves. Around 75 generous volunteers tend to be restoring at any given time. 

I'd like to personally thank the Restoration Volunteer who saved my photo(s). Is this possible?

By default CARE for Sandy Submission Rules dictate that NO personal information (save for the city and state in which a given photo has been found) provided by photo assistance seekers will be shared with the public (including first and last names) unless an individual has specifically requested that we do so. Which means volunteers will NOT know who 'you' are, unless you ask CARE for Sandy to make this information public. Your privacy is important to CARE for Sandy.

However if an individual or family requests to connect with a volunteer to say "Thank you!", and if a Restoration Volunteer wishes to share his/her personal contact info, CARE for Sandy will make this possible. 

Restoration Volunteer will also be offered by-lines (located underneath Before + After images) for completed restorations, hyperlinking to one self-promotional page of their choosing. Volunteers may have personal contact info listed on self-promotional pages. Sending a "Thank you!" memo sounds super sweet.