Friday, October 27, 2006

BonaResponds in the news

From today's BV Article on Volunteering:

Ryan gets the ball rolling:

"BonaResponds leader Ryan Nicole Hasper...She holds volunteering in a special light. "I believe that volunteering is a great way to give back to the community," Hasper said. "Volunteering makes me feel good about helping others
that are in need.""

Well said Ryan!

Tim Then gets in the action and also describes the synergy that can exist among different volunteer groups

""I went on this trip for (the Journey Project), but after the day was over, I decided that I really wanted to join...I plan on going with BonaResponds to Mississippi in the near future. Volunteering gives me a sense of accomplishment
and a sense that I helped someone." "

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds returns to Buffalo to assist in clean up

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds returns to Buffalo to assist in clean up:
"About five dozen students from BonaResponds, many of whom traveled to the Gulf Coast in March to offer aid to hurricane victims, spent Sunday in suburban Buffalo helping victims of the freak Oct. 12-13 snowstorm clean up their ravaged yards. Another group of BonaResponders will be heading back to the area this Sunday to help storm victims again. "

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More new pictures

Stephanie sent along some pictures from this past weekend's trip. They have been uploaded. My favorite is this one:
from steph-jim hauling tree branches

(Ok, so I am biased!!)

Why help?

I will allow the volunteer to remain nameless (unless she tells me otherwise), but this is very representative of the feeling you get for helping out. Experience it yourself! Come with us this Sunday!
"I went on the 10/22 trip to Buffalo and I thought that it was the most positive and rewarding experience that I have done in a long time. I loved it. Everyone was so sweet and thankful to have relief workers in the area. One woman whose backyard was a complete mess came out to thank us because her husband has been in the hospital because he needs a kidney so that left her and her 86-year-old mother-in-law. There were trees everywhere and there was no way that they could have done the work. She said that having us help out was the best thing that has happened to her all week.
I loved helping out and if you could please put me on the email list for bonaresponds that would be wonderful"

Drive volunteers, get money

As you probably know, BonaResponds is going back to Buffalo this Sunday October 29th! Please come help. Last week we cleared 40 homes. With you we can do even more. Help others and have fun at the same time! It is open to ALL!

Our headquarters will again be at the Lancaster Municipal Building at the corner of Central and Broadway.

Registration at back of Murphy at 9:00 AM Sunday. Dress warmly in clothes that you do not mind getting dirty. Also wear boots and gloves. Plan on car pooling.

As we learned we only have one van, there is a new plan, if you agree to take 4 volunteers (yourself and 3 others) BonaResponds will pay $10 for gas.

RSVP IF POSSIBLE (it helps with lining up jobs if we have some idea how many are coming) to

For more info:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BonaResponds Newsletter October 2006

BonaResponds Newsletter October 2006
Just realized I never linked to his here. It gives a nice summary of what we have been doing and what we hope to do in the future.

Bonaventure gets honor roll

Bradford Publishing - St. Bonaventure honored for community service projects.:
"St. Bonaventure University has been named to the first President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service.
The award was given in recognition of extraordinary volunteer efforts by the university and its students to serve area neighborhoods and Gulf Coast communities devastated by last year’s Hurricane Katrina.....

“It is a great honor and I think this shows the strength of the Bonaventure community’s caring,” ...said Dr. James Mahar, assistant professor of finance and the first St. Bonaventure faculty member involved with Katrina relief trips. “From the Gulf Coast to the streets of Buffalo after the recent storm, from students to faculty members, to the alumni and the local community, the entire SBU community continues to inspire not only those that they help, but everyone involved.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

From an "interview"

I was just replying to an email and I liked what I wrote, so will share a part of it with you:
"It was just a great day...not only did our volunteers' efforts improve the people's property but also their mood...On a dreary day BonaResponds brought some light to an area that was hit hard. That, more than the tonnage of debris moved or the number of yards cleared is the most important thing we did. People who at the beginning of the day had no hope to get their yards cleaned themselves, were often moved to tears by the volunteers' efforts. That is something you can't put a price tag on. "
and later:
"it was just a blast...not sure the formula, but even in a cold hard rain, the fact that you are helping people really makes you feel good about yourself and the world in general."

From an email

From an email from a volunteer:

"Also I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed yesterday, it felt so rewarding. I would like to go next sunday if possible."

It IS DEFINITELY possible. We will be leaving the Murphy Lot at 9:10 on Sunday October 29th. Come on out!

Update on BonaReponds Buffalo Clean up

Update on BonaResponds Buffalo Storm Cleanup.

What: BonaResponds Buffalo Clean Up Day: over 40 homes were completed!

Where: Base camp was in Lancaster Village Municipal building. Lancaster is a suburb South East of Buffalo.

When: Sunday October 22. We left St. Bonaventure at 9:25 AM. Returned about 7:00 PM.

What: The day went VERY well! Trees and storm debris were removed from over 40 homes (in fact 50 homes were actually completed, but some had been largely done prior to our arrival so those minor jobs will not be counted.)

In spite of wet and cold weather, about 60 volunteers gave up their Sunday to cut and haul tree debris left in the aftermath of the “October Surprise” snow storm that caused much damage across the Buffalo region. The work was done in the Village of Lancaster. The homes that were done were roughly half selected by the Lancaster emergency response program while responses to the Alumni email “blast”, word of mouth, and requests in the field made up the remainder of the jobs.

How: Upon arrival there was a very brief meeting in which we broke into teams cover the ten grids that made up Lancaster. Each team was provided with a map and a list of jobs.

Once at the job site, the work was often challenging as untold thousands of tons of downed limbs and trees had to be cut and hauled to the curb so that trucks could remove the debris to eventually be chipped. With chain saws buzzing constantly, volunteers untiringly dragged branches often larger than they were to the curb and into piles that reached over 8 feet in some cases.

In addition to the jobs previously lined up, many additional jobs were picked up as volunteers spoke with residents and learned of an elderly or disabled person in the neighborhood who needed assistance. It was often these jobs that proved the most rewarding. Indeed, on numerous occasions the residents were so happy that the job (remember it was a job that they simply could not do) that they offered food to the volunteers and even cried for joy.

A pizza and wings dinner was held which served as the nightly meeting at which each team shared their stories. One nice addition to this dinner was that a local resident (whose house we did NOT do) came in and spoke. Fighting back tears, he gave an emotional address in which he told what our work had meant to his neighbors that we had helped.

The Mayor of Lancaster also spoke. He told of the long hours his crews were putting in and how many local residents still needed help.

We will be doing it again this coming Sunday. The work may change slightly as we venture further into different regions. However the impact of the work will remain the same. Please come out if you can and get others to come as well! One of our projects will be Delaware Park and the amount of work there is enormous. We will need all the help we can muster and then some!

Come on out, rain or shine, it will be fun and many people will be helped.

Special thanks to Scott, Terry, Linda and everyone from the Lancaster Emergency Management team. They really made volunteering easy! Also to Wegmans and Park and Shop for donations of food and supplies. And an extra special thanks to David Campbell and Handson Disaster Response for their generous donation of chain saws!


All in all a wonderful day!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Flickr: The October 2006 Buffalo Snowstorm Pool

Flickr: The October 2006 Buffalo Snowstorm Pool-
Many pictures from various photographers on the storm in Buffalo. Once again it shows the need to help out.

If you can make it, please come help BonaResponds!! 11-5 iour HQ is in Lancaster Municipal Building. We will be going all over the area. Come on out! We will help many people and you'll even have fun! (leaving SBU at 9:15 on Sunday).

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Bona Venture

The Bona Venture: "There is so much work to be done. Hundreds of thousands of trees were damaged,' Godbout wrote. 'Just in the Olmstead Parks, it is estimated that over 10,000 were damaged and maybe 4,000 will have to be cut down. And that is just in the parks.'

Similar to the effects residents of New Orleans felt after Katrina, Buffalo residents bonded as well.

'Many of them told us that the storm had brought them together with neighbors that they didn't often interact with,' Godbout wrote.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Buffalo News - Disabled are hit hard

Buffalo News - Disabled are hit hard:
"Dwight Babcock, who is 80 years old and uses a walker to get around, has no electricity, no heat and has used up nearly all of his oxygen supply.

'I don't feel so good,' the Lancaster man said as downed wires hung ominously from the corner of his house."

Now how is he going to move those trees?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another video...more reason to come volunteer!

Again not our video, but it shows why you should come volunteer to help!

It is basically a "storm chaser" video. Also be forewarned, his language is not G rated! Watch the last minute for the best idea of what it is like.

Can't decide whether to Volunteer?

Can’t decide whether to help out or not? Here is just a sampling of some of the pleas for help we have received.

“If anyone happens to be in the Amherst area at the time, my mom…now lives in a home…in Amherst in a neighborhood that was one of the hardest hit. Luckily she now has power but the issue is downed limbs/trees on the property…. she recently had major surgery so physically cannot do very much”

“…my brother…and his wife…could sure use some help. They will likely be without power and heat until Sunday even if the street gets power. They lost the line to the house. The basement is flooded. They have two small kids at home under age two and he is a NYS Trooper so he has been working a lot and has not had as much time….”

My mother's home was severely affected by the storm. I have been sick and unable to go help her. …I know she sounded very upset on the telephone. My brother was supposed to go and help her, but I am not sure how much help he was to her. Maybe she could get some help from one of the teams, if there is a team that is going to the Amherst/Williamsville area. If possible, could you please call her to see if she needs or would welcome some assistance.

We leave at 9:15 Sunday from the Murphy/Plassman lots at the West side of campus. Be there and bring a car load of friends.

Dress for a hard day of manual labor.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Buffalo Bound

From Today's Notice board:
BonaResponds to Buffalo

Come help the Buffalo area recover from the worst natural disaster to strike the US mainland since Katrina. BonaResponds will again go to Buffalo this Sunday (10/22) and next Sunday (10/29).

We will be working in several sites. Most work is picking up downed branches, but there will be work at base headquarters (logistical and administrative etc.) Added brownie points to anyone with chain saws and chain saw experience.

Headquarters will be the Town Maintenance Garage in Lancaster (Broadway and Center streets). From there we will spread out across the region until regrouping at 5 p.m. for a short meeting and returning shortly after 7 p.m.

We expect to leave the Murphy and Plassmann parking lots at 9:15 a.m. Please car pool. We hope to have a few vans available as well, but no guarantees.

Dress to work: boots, work gloves, and old clothes. And you will want to bring dry clothes and a change of shoes for after (trust us on that ;))

Like all BonaRespond events, this is open to everyone! Help spread the word. Have your friends from other schools meet us.

Having seen it first hand, we can say it is really bad up there and many people have no way to move the downed trees that are on their properties. Additionally, community groups, parks, and schools are in desperate need of help.

As an additional incentive (if more is still needed), BonaResponds will knock $10 off the price of the spring break trips to anyone who works at least 5 hours in Buffalo (and if any donors want to match or add to that please e-mail us!)

While reservations are not required, they will make our planning much easier. Please e-mail
For more information check out


If you can't go but would like to help, we will accept both money or food donations. (Home-made cookies? Brownies? Or even just a loaf of bread for sandwiches would help!)

NewsChannel 9 WSYR - Cleanup Continues in Buffalo, 195,000 Still Without Power

NewsChannel 9 WSYR - Cleanup Continues in Buffalo, 195,000 Still Without Power:
"The death toll from a record-setting fall snowstorm rose by three Monday, while residents waited for word on whether they'll be reimbursed for everything from spoiled food to hotel stays.

About 195,000 homes and businesses remained without power for a fourth day, and Mayor Byron Brown said some community warming centers were still filled to capacity."

Officials disagree on Buffalo guard help

Officials disagree on Buffalo guard help:
"We would like help from the National Guard for debris removal,' said Amherst, N.Y., Police Chief John Moslow. 'It appears to us this will take months rather than weeks.'"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pictures from the Buffalo trip are online

The longest journey begins with a small step

Not all pictures yet uploaded, but some are here! This is a rough idea of what it looked like when we started. As the capition says (click through, the longest journey begins with a single small step.

Jerry and Stephanie interview

Interview with Jerry and Stephanie on their day in Lancaster helping the residents.

Jason on the aftermath of the storm, how BonaResponds helped, and how little things do make a big difference!

Come out and be the difference!

Email for more information.

Video from Buffalo

We did not film this, but it gives you an idea of what it is like:

Sherry's interview

A conversation with Sherri a Lancaster NY resident on what it was like to help pick up the many many branches that were downed by the "October Surprise" snow storm.

You too can help! Check out

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ann and Jaime speaking on the snow storm damage in the Buffalo region and the recovery. BonaResponds worked with them on 10/15/06

2 On Your Side - News - News On Demand

Watch this, the front of a plane (as in a Jet Plane) is lifted off the ground by the weight of snow!

2 On Your Side - News - News On Demand

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

BonaRersponds to BUFFALO!!


BonaResponds is traveling to Buffalo on Sunday, October 15 to help out with the recent record breaking storm and its aftereffects. Times for this day will be determined soon! Expect most of the day.

We are going to be shoveling snow, moving down trees/branches and much more.

Please dress appropriately (winter hats, heavy coats, snow boots), bring any necessary tool you can (such as snow shovels, chainsaws to name a few) and DON'T FORGET TO BRING A FRIEND!

It will be hard manual labor, so if you are not up for it, please do not take up a spot.

Please email with any questions.

PS We can't take everyone, but if you can make it, please respond to

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This was the first general meeting of the Fall semester. We discuss goals of group, changes, and trips to the Gulf.