Tuesday, December 07, 2010

BonaResponds to help local flood victims but we need your help!

Help your neighbors

This Sunday BonaResponds will be organizing a work day to help local flood victims cleanout flooded basements and they need your help.

Last week’s floods affected many local households leaving behind flooded basements and lawns covered with debris.  BonaResponds, a volunteer organization that has responded to Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and fires in 13 states and has sent over 30 pallets of supplies to Haiti after the January Earthquake, will be helping locally to clean up after the flood.

This past weekend BonaResponds cleaned out 4 basements and tarped a trailer whose roof had been damaged by the winds that accompanied the storm. 

“Despite the cold and snow, the work this past weekend went very well.  We had a group come over from Gowanda.  We helped them last year when their town was flooded and this year they returned the favor.  It really was a pretty heart warming story,” BonaResponds leader Jim Mahar

The SBU based volunteer organization expected more jobs this weekend because the water is down and insurance companies having had a week to assess the damage.  “Last week we were a bit early and could not even get to some jobs because of high water.  This week we may be a few days late, but with work during the week it is the best we can do.  We have already heard from eight homeowners in Allegany, Portville, and Hinsdale for this weekend and I am sure we will get more later in the week” Mahar added. 

But there is a problem:  A need for volunteers.   BonaResponds’ student leader Steve Gearhart put it like this: “There is no good time for a flood, but this one is particularly bad since we have finals.  I am extremely busy this week.  But the need is here so BonaResponds will do what we can so we really could use the help of local residents.  Like they said in Gowanda last year, it will be ‘Neighbor helping Neighbor.’” 

BonaResponds will help anyone who was flooded but priority will be given to the elderly and disabled.  All labor is free but the homeowner is asked to provide any necessary supplies (for instance if sheetrock (drywall) needs to be replaced that is the responsibility of the homeowner).

Any homeowner who needs help is encouraged to contact the Cattaraugus County EOC office at 716-938-2244 who will be helping to schedule jobs.  “It is great working with them.  They have made our jobs much easier as they can help to organize and screen jobs which saves us time to just work,” said Jen Mahar who has been handling scheduling of the clean up jobs for BonaResponds.

BonaResponds alumni leader Nate O’Lay added “We really like it when we get to work with the home owners. Even if they can do it themselves, why not call and get some help?  It makes the job much more meaningful for all involved.  And if we can save the homeowner some time, very often that person will then come with us to the next job to help.  It is a fun way to build community and as the saying goes ‘many hands make light work’”.

To volunteer please register at http://BonaResponds.org.  The work day will begin Sunday at 10:30 from the Murphy parking lot on the far west side of campus. BonaResponds is open to all.  Under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and under 18 must have parental permission (form is available at http://BonaResponds.org).  Dress warmly in layers and expect to get wet feet. 

BonaResponds will provide lunch and a light meal back at campus at 4:30 for all volunteers and homeowners.   If anyone would like to donate food, hot chocolate or coffee to the volunteers, these can be dropped off at Murphy at 10:30 or email BonaResponds@gmail.com to arrange a drop-off at a work site.

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