Some fairly major changes, so please read.
MAJOR change of plans: The surprisingly large turnout of volunteers has forced us give up the idea of taking vans.
Instead we will be taking a 56 seat bus and a 7 seat mini-van for 63 total volunteers.
The cost of the trip was significantly higher as a result, but given the large number of drivers and vans that would have been needed, it was decided that this would be better decision.
IMPORTANT: WE WILL HONOR ALL PREVIOUS DEALS FOR PRICES AND FOR DRIVERS! So if you had signed up to drive, you now get to go without having to drive. We will be asking some of you to drive as we will be renting a few vans in either TN or MS or possibly Arkansas.
As we stated in our early meetings, the actual cost of the trip was substantially higher than the price that we charged. The difference was going to be made up from various fund raising activities. However, with the increased cost of the bus plus the larger number of people going, the cost is significantly higher than anticipated.
The last 36 hours have been a very hectic time of fund raising to help cover these additional costs without totally dipping in the BonaResponds account balance. After a request to the University to help pay the difference was not accepted, several very generous donors stepped forward. With the major assistance from Brother Ed who secured $1000 of student sponsorships from the Franciscan Center for Social Concern, a couple (both of whom are SBU alum but who asked to remain anonymous) that pledged $1250, and several other large donations (totaling $500) (plus several other possible donations), we will be able to maintain the large subsidies to all volunteers.
(Do me a favor, when you see Brother Ed or John Watson tell them THANK YOU!)
That said, we are asking anyone who would like to donate more to please consider it. The cost of the bus is about $3600 more than the vans would have been. This cost difference would have raised the amount BonaResponds was paying to nearly $8000 which is clearly not sustainable for multiple trips.
That said, in the "if it doesn't kill us, it will make us stronger" school of thought, this may push the issue of transportation to the forefront. My hope is that sooner or later we can purchase some vans or better a mini-bus such as this one. If anyone knows of a bus expert (or a large donor), please let us know. Or if you have a better idea!
Over the weekend we will be updating what to bring, but as a good working list, see what Handson is suggesting or what we suggested in the past. and here. (I would not recommend air mattresses, but sleeping bags are a must And PLEASE NO SUITCASES especially for anyone going in the minivan. Travel as light as possible. At all sites we will be able to do laundry and there will be places to buy more things.