Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Driscolls (of HODR and formerly of PerserveVolunteer fame) will be traveling from New Hampshire to continue the work on Ed and Donna's house in Friendship on January 5-8. It would be really great to have some BonaRespond volunteers there too!
Our Spring Break trip (probably to Texas) will be Feb 27th to March 8th. All details are still being worked out.
We will continue to have work days most weekends in January and February as well as our large work Buffalo work day on March 28th in conjunction with Villa Maria.
Our large local spring service weekend will be April 25-26th.
But these are just a few of the many events we will be having! Get involved. You will be glad you did!!
Bridge City Family Gets Birthday Wish | KBMT ABC 12 - News, Weather and Sports - Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX Beaumont - Port Arthur, Texas | Local News Top Stories
"Twins Morgan and Macy had a wish to move back into their home on their birthday after damage from Ike made it unlivable.
Morgan and Macy's wish came true with the help of World Hope International, Community Church Orange and so many volunteers.
World Hope International has been in Southeast Texas since September helping folks clean up. and says getting the Leblanc family back in their home is only the beginning."
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Collection: BonaResponds: Just put together a collection of some of the nearly seven thousand BonaResponds pictures of the various events we have had.
I am not really sure what order they are in, but it is a nice pictorial view of some of what BonaResponds has done since its founding right after Katrina hit in late August of 2005 through the current work in Friendship. Take a look!
Things are coming along well. A lack of volunteers has slowed progress, but every day is that much closer to getting them out of their 24 foot camper and into their new house!
The current plan is to have half the house livable before the New Years. Right now we have the drywall hung in the bathroom, the hallway, and the back laundry room. It still has to be mudded etc.
Next will be to do the ceiling in the bedroom. The walls of the bedroom will be boarded/paneled as will the lower half of the hallway. Earlier this week we helped Ed cut some of the boards that will serve as the panels (in order to save money, they purchased lumber that still had to be ripped and then cut into tongue and groove panels. The longer boards for panels have to be cut with another saw but it was too heavy to move given few volunteers this week.
The living room and kitchen will be done later (after the New Year's). Then over the next six months (depending on money) the second floor will be done. That will be turned into another bed room and a room for storage etc.
Take a look at the pictures, the place is definitely taking shape.
As mentioned last week via Twitter, the family is sleeping in it now and are very excited to be partially out of their old camper. The plumbing is partially working. The laundry in the back is set up and the main plumbing for bathroom is done, but nothing is yet set up (toilet, shower, etc).
I hope we can get more volunteers! You don;t know what you are missing. It really is a great project and Ed and Donna are some of the nicest people I have met. To work with them has been great.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
From In Cedar Rapids: 6 homes destroyed, 6 families coping | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register:
"I was reaching my ultimate low and when they showed up, my spirit changed., It just turned around. I have hope again.'
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Christmas After Ike — The Story from American Public Media:
"It's been three months since Hurricane Ike - one of the most destructive hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. Like most of her neighbors on the coast near Galveston, Texas, Dana Bethune will be spending this holiday season camped out in someone else's home. Her home was destroyed, and has yet to be rebuilt.
This house was Dana and her husband Jimmy's dream house. Ike washed out the first floor and many of their possessions disappeared - refrigerator, paddle boat, treasured Christmas plates. Then Dana lost her job. As she tells Dick Gordon, it's been a tough season, but she's learned about her own faith and the generosity of her neighbors."
Ed also got most of the boards for lower walls cut and are now drying.
Plan on going back tomorrow afternoon, can you come? email BonaResponds@sbu.edu
Thank you all for volunteering! We are up to about 25 volunteers going to Bridge City Texas. I am very pleased with this number given total lack of news (the election and the economy have taken all news time), the economy, and the fact that you are giving up your break time.
From the first trip to Biloxi immediately after Katrina to our recent trip to Iowa, BonaResponds volunteers have set a very high standard. I trust and expect this trip to be no different.
It was very impressive on the first trip when we first got there the other volunteers all sort of snickered when they saw a team of college students (mainly girls) and a bald finance professor come in. But by the end of the trip the same volunteers were so impressed with the work that we had several people offer to pay for us to stay longer. That is what I want again this trip.
Sure it will be fun. But please remember we are there to get people back in their homes. Over break, on Christmas or just whenever you get a second, consider what it would be like if you could not live in your home for the past 4 months with no sure timeline for you to get back in. That is what the people of Bridge City are facing. The more work we do the sooner they get back in their homes. We owe it to them to get them back in soon.
You are all leaders or you would not be coming on this trip. When we are there, act like it. Be the change. If something needs doing, do it. If someone needs a hand, be there to help.
While the work we accomplish is important, often times on these trips the most important thing we do is just to be there to listen. To work with the people affected. Remember that. Listen to their stories.
It will be a great trip. I have no idea of what to expect. But be flexible. No matter how much we plan things will change. We may end up doing dishes or doing drywall. But in either case we will be helping get the people back in their homes. And that is the best Christmas present they can get.
Ok, administrative stuff...VERY important:
We are still working out logistics on van etc which will no doubt be a challenge, but we will get it.
the direct link to the form for airport rides is available here:
I heard from Laura at the the Church of Christ Disaster Response team....many of you still have not signed up there. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do so ASAP.
the link to sign up with the Church of Christ group is here:
also their blog is here for more info.
We have VERY few permission slips etc yet as well. Given the university mail system basically shuts down around the holidays, it may be best to either email or be absolutely sure you bring them with you. I need them before you can do any work there.
for this and MUCH more see the blog entries for Bridge City at:
thanks! Have a great Christmas. Be sure to continue to watch the blog for updates and news.
See you soon!
PS if you know of someone who is not on this list but is going, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND FORWARD THIS TO THAT PERSON!!! "
"We're looking forward to you all being here!
We're still working on the same type of projects. We still have some gut out jobs, and a lot of drywall jobs. We are also still distributing supplies here at the community center if anyone is interested in helping here. We are also always in need of people to help input data into the computer.
So far only six [now of 25 so get signing up if you have not!!] Please make sure that all that are coming sign up right away, we have others wanting to come the same time period and we only have a certain amount of space. I've put the others on a waiting list. Please try to make sure that everyone coming registers by Dec. 20.They will want to bring long pants and hard soled shoes to work in. Also the weather here has been crazy. The high today was 39 with rain, sleet and snow this evening. Yesterday it was 76. Tomorrow it's to be in the 50's and Friday in the 60's. So they should be prepared with different types of clothing.
We have air mattresses available, towels are also available so they really only need to bring a pillow, sleeping bag, toiletries and clothes. This is all in the email they receive as well.
here is a form that all people going on the trip must fill out:
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
2. Still have a few spots reserved for the Winter trip to Bridge City Tx. I think we are at 23 volunteers. If you want to go, it must be done this week! See our blog for more info:
3. If you are going to Texas to help, please be sure to fill out all necessary forms and BE SURE TO NOTIFY THE PEOPLE FROM THE CHURCH OF CHRIST DISASTER RESPONSE group. THIS MUST BE DONE!!!
(see the blog for more info).
4. Buying anything online? Anything? Books, airline tickets, clothes, you name it. Go to GoodShop.com and enter BonaResponds for your charity. You will pay the same as you would, but we will get a small amount to. Just booked the trip to Texas and BonaResponds will be getting back $12 from one transaction!
5. The BonaResponds/Park and Shop SPCA collection was a big success. Several boxes of pet food, some laundry detergent, and many sheets and blankets were given. Thank you! (You can always drop off your donations for the SPCA at the Allegany Park and Shop and a BonaResponds member will take it to the SPCA).
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Local Volunteers Help Where FEMA Can't:
"'I was about a day away from bull-dozing the place and just giving up on the whole thing,' said Lee Sadberry.
However, Lee didn't give up.....With FEMA saying no to flood victims, they are relying more than ever on the kindness of their neighbors.
'FEMA said they can't help us; the government said that they won't help us. We've got people living on fixed incomes; elderly; disabled; working poor.. that unless we help them.. unless we do this.. they will not get back into their homes,' said Bob Johnson of City Impact.
But more help is needed for these people to rebuild their lives.
'If you can lift a paint brush, or a hammer, carry a board, carry dry wall.. Please come out and help us as we try to get people's lives back together. I mean- this is the season of giving,' said Rev. Jeremiah Heydt, Chair of Wichita Falls Area"
In the best economic times, some people need a hand, but with the economy bad even more help is needed. Unfortunately it is when the help is often least forthcoming. So if we all do a little, things will be ok.
It is in that spirit that BonaResponds and the Allegany Park and Shop have teamed up to run collections to help the local community. All you have to do is to drop the items off at the collection boxes at the front of the store and BonaResponds will make sure the donations get to their proper spots.
1. Food for the Olean Food Pantry. Need I say any more. Direct food to those in need. (future collections will go to the Warming House and other local groups as well).
2. Pet food, towels, sheets, laundry soap, and cleaning supplies for the Cattaraugus County SPCA. The next delivery is planned for this Saturday so if you could drop off your items before
3. Change the world! Instead of having to empty your pockets of change before bed, donate your loose change to BonaResponds and help Change the world!
There is a small collection bucket at the service desk of the Allegany Park and Shop. Money collected goes directly to help fund BonaResponds (and it is used before any fees etc so 100% goes directly to help).
How do such small donations matter? They add up! For instance in the fall we had two local service days where all volunteers were fed from these small change donations.
This is being cross-posted on both the BonaResponds blog and the Park and Shop blog.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
just got an email from the University, we will be allowed to use the van that Coates donated to us last year! It has sat on campus for an entire year (well a year in 3 weeks), but it has been approved :)
Inspection and registration being started now. Good news :)
Thanks again to the Coates for the donation!
Texas coastal town faces long recovery:
"We’ve been down here three times since the storm and haven’t made a dent,” Franklin said. “And then the mud-out crew showed up. These guys have made a big difference.”
Disaster relief volunteers from Texas and South Carolina helped clear out the house and ripped out the soggy molding, sheetrock and insulation.
“We’re taking out their whole life here,” said Charlie Satterfield, a leader with the South Carolina Baptist disaster relief recovery team.
“Mrs. Goodwin’s been sitting out in the driveway, and we’ve been bringing things by her so she can decide what to keep and what to throw away,” said Ann Gaskins, a disaster relief volunteer with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Most of it is unsalvageable."
Monday, December 08, 2008
"Thanks about asking about our community after the storm.
Update: FEMA has finally stepped up and we now have about 300 Trailer[s] in Bridge City. Most of the Houses have been gutted and sheet rock removed. I don't know anyone that has received insurance yet and the stories is that it's a fight to get any insurance to pay. Everyone is living paycheck to paycheck and trying to put what ever money they can into rebuilding. Most days we run out of Gas and the Laundry Mart is the most hopping place in town."
All volunteers have three forms that need to be filled out:
I was asked by a volunteer about what to bring on the trip. Here is my list and the list from our host The Church of Christ Response team.
What to bring:
- A good attitude
- Work clothes (jeans, long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, sweatshirt, workboots (ideally steel toed).
- Gloves--leather is best IMO
- Sun glasses/safety goggles
- Sleeping bag (pillow if you want one--yoga block works great and is smaller)
- A pair of shorts would not be a bad idea
- cell phone charger
- digital camera
- warm clothes to sleep in
- toiletries etc (contacts, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc)
- water bottle
- Sun tan lotion (yes I know it is January, but if you are out all day and not used to it, you will want it!)
- granola bars etc--
- running clothes
We will stop at a grocery store the first day so you do not need to get everything on the plane
A limited amount of money will be needed for when we stop on the trip and if we get a chance to go sightseeing on 1/2 day.
There are shower facilities and a place to do laundry.
Should have had a tetanus shot within 5 years.
and from Laura at the Church of Christ Disaster Response team:
We're looking forward to working with you and we've got everything ready and waiting for you to arrive.
Don't forget to make sure your shot is up to date.
Items that you will need to bring with you are:
Sleeping bag (we do have some available. Please call before coming to see if there are any available for your scheduled time)
Hard soled shoes
We are praying for safe travels for you!"
"Thank You !!Hope this helps answer some of your questions
We appreciate the time you’re taking to be a part of the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team! (DRT)
You’re help here is very needed and so much appreciated!
The following is some information we’d like you to know. These things will help the work here go more smoothly when we all work together.
When you arrive:
* Please pick up a T-Shirt. We ask for a $5. donation just to cover the cost of the shirts however, if you are not able to give a donation that is fine, we’d still like you to have a shirt. It helps those in the communities we are working in to know we’re from the Church of Christ.
* Please pick a “Team Leader” for your group. This person will meet with one of the coordinators each evening in the designated area at approx. 7:30 pm to go over work accomplished and prepare for the next day.
* Help yourself to snacks from the snack table at any time.
* Continental Breakfast is available from 6:00am – 7:00am
* Lunch will be served here at the community center at noon.
* Evening meals are provided by DRT at 6:00 pm. we work very hard to provide this for you so PLEASE try to return to the building in time to eat. If you are going to eat out, please let us know the day before so we can plan for that.
* Please clean up after yourselves. Please make sure to throw away any cups, plates, etc. that you’ve used and please keep your dorm room clean."
Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team -- www.churchesofchristdrt.org:
"It's also been getting cold at night so we've been giving out quite a few blankets, warm clothing and electric heaters....
I know you're wondering what is still needed......... :)
Well.....we need YOU!! We are in desperate need of volunteers for all areas. Below is just a sample of some of the areas that we need volunteers for. Is this something you can do?? I'm sure you can find something on this list you can help with. :)
Pray (for those affected by the storm and for those ministering to them)
Working On Houses (gutting houses, disinfecting, installing sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, etc.)
Delivering Supplies to Houses
Distributing Supplies (filling orders and loading supplies in cars, etc.)
Interviewers for Distribution (helping to fill out forms, etc.)
Clothing (stocking, sorting, sizing, helping clients find sizes, etc.)
Cleaning (wash dishes, clean showers, restrooms, floors, etc.)"
A few drive-through videos:
Probably my favorite (best music!)
Another sad one.
This one focuses on a single family. I am definitely not saying we will be helping them, but there are others just like them that have not had their story put online.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
We have worked with HODR in Biloxi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa and there simply is not a better organization out there. We (BonaResponds) model nearly everything we do after them. So if you have a chance to help HODR either monetarily or by going to volunteer, please do. See HODR.org for more info.
Here and Now : Digging Out Haiti - 12/5/2008:
"Several months after a series of storms, Haitians in the city of Gonaives are still living on their roof tops while tons of mud get moved. Marc Young is coordinating international volunteers in Gonaives for the group, Hands On Disaster Response."Great work! Marc (AKA Scuba) is a great guy and if he says it is bad, it is bad.
- When shopping online, go to GoodSearch first and enter BonaResponds as your charity. It is good for airline tickets (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz), books (Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many others) and virtually anything else you could possibly want. Walmart, Cheese, stuffed animals, sporting goods, etc. BonaResponds gets a percentage of every sale.
- We need someone to update our Wikipedia entry. It is easy and anyone can do it! (just please be careful and make sure you link to any claim so it is documented.)
- If you know of anyone in Texas who might want to help us in Bridge City TX (airport runs, cooking, and also working with us January 5th to January 17th) let them and us know. They do not need any Bonaventure connection. Give them this link!
Friday, December 05, 2008
But it is not yet up and running (waiting for the University OK) and as a result, the work day in Friendship of Dec 7th has been canceled. Plan on coming out December 15th-18th if you can.
Bill Driscoll (at least Bill Sr.) will be coming down from New Hampshire to help. And ideally we will have some faculty since finals will be done. (Maybe ;) )
Thursday, December 04, 2008
"In the wake of the storm, Bridge City had been flooded entirely. BonaResponds will be working with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team to help with the relief effort by distributing supplies, cooking and serving meals to the community as well as gutting and cleaning flooded houses. The trip is open to the public.
“I encourage people of all ages to come and join us in Bridge City,” said Dr. Jim Mahar, associate professor of finance and founder of BonaResponds. “Young or old, student or professor, I guarantee you will have fun and feel good about what you’re doing.”"
"...consider this: Out of 3500 homes in Bridge City, only 14 didn't receive water. There a loads of people who will need help rebuilding once insurance comes through for them. Lots of these folks are elderly, and there are quite a few handicapped who won't be able to afford to pay high priced contractors to come in and do this work for them.
Also, another thing you might do is go to some of the following sites and show them some of the pictures.....
You can google Bridge City Texas and use the keywords hurricane and Ike. This really shows the devastation here.Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with ....
One more thing, bribe them with all the good cajun and southern style food they can handle ;)
There you have it. More reasons to come help! Even if for only a portion of the time. You can help and you will be glad you did it.
Just because it is not on the national news every day, does not mean they don't need our help. In fact, they probably need it more since unlike after Katrina, their has not been a hige outpouring of help from across the nation. Blame it on the economy or whatever, but many people still need to be helped. We are going and we'd love to have you with us!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
BonaResponds is going to help in Texas. Are you coming?
We still have room for those interested in coming to help in Bridge City Texas. In fact we will pay the first 20 to sign up $50! to help cover transportation costs.
Working from January 5th to January 17th in a town of 3400 where 99% of homes were damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Ike.
There is a meeting for those going or interested in going in Murphy's Dresser Aud at 12:30 on Friday. The meeting will be short.
For more info see our blog entry.
"...to no one's surprise, local officials and residents say FEMA has been slow to respond with the mobile homes it promised to provide. The federal agency promised officials last week that it has worked hard to cut the red tape and that housing remains its No. 1 priority.
In Bridge City, a blue-collar community of petrochemical workers, Ike damaged nearly 90 percent of the 3,400 homes.
The Ashbys, both 70, had hoped they could stay nearby in a hotel or rent an apartment or home while they repaired their house. But the closest vacancies of any kind were in Houston, 100 miles away.
'There just wasn't anything,' Ferrel Ashby said. The couple ended up sleeping on their son's couch at first and then in a tiny travel trailer he used for fishing trips."
"San Leon, a town of 4,200 where many make a living from fishing, shrimping and oystering, was nearly crippled by the storm. About 900 people lost their homes, with as many as 1,500 of the 1,800 houses there damaged by the storm. Ike also wiped out about half of the bay's oysters and shredded fishing boats.
This time, however, there were smiles, not grim faces. There were families breaking bread side-by-side, not scattered by evacuation. There was hope, not despair.
This time, the San Leon residents were coming together at a Thanksgiving dinner organized by volunteers.... from the Valero's Texas City refinery and the Lighthouse Charity Team, not in a teeming disaster relief site"
Over the next couple of weeks I will be trying to report on the local area around Bridge City so we have an idea of what to expect. San Leon is closer to Houston than Bridge City but in same general area.
Meeting for those going to Bridge City Texas to help with Hurricane clean up. It is not too late to go!
for more info see our previous post:
We will be working with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team.
Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team - Hurricane Katrina - Tornados - Floods - Hurricanes:
"The entire town of Bridge City was under water. EVERY family was flooded. They DESPERATELY and URGENTLY need our help! Please click on the link to the blog on the left of this page for more details."In an email I got the following:
"Our relief effort is set up in the Bridge City Community Center. We are currently distributing supplies, cooking and serving meals to the community (600 - 800 per day) as well as gutting and cleaning houses and beginning the rebuilding stage.We have a separate area set up for guys and girls dorm rooms (complete with air mattresses) as well as laundry facilities and a (6) stall shower trailer with continuous instant hot water We provide continental breakfast, lunch and dinner for all volunteers.We also have our tool trailers onsite so everything you will need to work with is here.We will need everyone in your group to individually go online to our website http://www.churchesofchristdrt.org and fill out the "volunteer sign up form". Once they have done that, they will receive an email reply with a list of "need to know" items for your trip."
So if you are going:
1. Book a flight
2. Log onto the Church of Christ website and sign up
3. Email BonaResponds@sbu.edu the confirmations
So let's get moving! We need people to help get the word out, fliers, get an article in the BV, on The Buzz, in OTH, etc. Want 25 volunteers at least.
- We will be subsidizing the trip by at least $50 a person for the first 20 Bona Students or employees (or Alumni and Olean Community) people to sign up. After that it will probably be $40 a person through December 5th. (just think, we could subsidize it more if the University hadn't reimposed the 5% fee on our fund raising AFTER they said last year that they were done!)
- Open to anyone. (16 and up is fine with parent)
- Yes you can come for a portion of the trip. We'd love to have you if only for a few days.
- Alumni and community, PLEASE come. We need your work but also it helps students to see importance and that you can serve as both role models and add some maturity.
- You are not too old. We can find work for you. If nothing else, we will need drivers to pick people up at airport etc.
- Faculty: come on out. It will be the most fun you have, you will help people more than you can imagine, and you will learn that your students are by and large great people! To date very few of you have participated. I am not sure if it is because you are scared or what, but it is VERY fun and the right thing to do.
Monday, December 01, 2008
- Tony Annunziato for a generous donation.
- David Rakus for the bus we will be getting in Feb 2009 as well as starting a beef jerky sales program where BonaResponds will get much of the profits.
- Steve Hayes for several appliances that will be given to Mark in West Clarksville plus a single mom working on her GED in Olean
- The Driscolls, Jen, and two anonymous donors for for helping to establish a fund that will be used for micro lending.
Speaking of donations saw this article on donations during recessions. Not sure what it means for BonaResponds. I continue to maintain that getting volunteers and leaders is what we need.
Food banks, shelters benefit as charity stays closer to home - MarketWatch:
"'Given rising unemployment and food costs being high... it's harder and harder for everyone to make ends meet,' he said.
That doesn't mean Americans with the means to give are turning their backs on all charities this year -- especially when it comes to helping their neighbors.
Not surprisingly, giving fell 1%, on average, during recession years between 1967 and 2007, according to research from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA Foundation. In years without a recession, charitable giving typically grows 4.3%."