Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Survey: How can BonaResponds do better?

Survey: How can BonaResponds do better?: BonaResponds has one mission and that is to help people. Using that as our standard 2011 has been a great year. We responded to natural disasters in Alabama, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. We also responded to financial disasters in Camden NJ and Greensville SC. Locally we worked in Buffalo, Olean, and around Western New York almost every weekend of the year. Our International Service Day in March tied people around the worked together and promised greater success in the coming years. BonaResponds groups are now well established in Chicago and Dallas as well as the main organization headquartered at St. Bonaventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas presents in Sayre


Back in October we worked on a trailer in Sayre.  It was a really tough job for lots of reasons.  We were under the trailer for 5 hours removing insulation and cleaning up around the area.  But more than that it was a difficult job emotionally.  The family had very little to start with and had had an incredible run of bad luck.   

Months prior to the floods, the mother had been in a serious accident when she was hit by a truck while walking with her children.  Thrown far by the impact, she broke her back and was left in bad shape.  She did survive but was largely bed ridden and the family's time and resources, already very limited were pushed to the breaking point by medical costs, physical rehab, and refitting the trailer to make it more handicap accessible.

Then the flood came. 

Several of the volunteers who worked at the house planned on doing something for the kids for Christmas, and while things did not go as planned, Chelsea and her family came through big time and collected money, donated money, shopped, and delivered gifts!  :)

Here is a picture from the day:

From Chelsea:

"It was amazing, the parents were so incredibly thankful and the kids loved their presents. I ended up having $125 to spend on the family... We got little dress up clothes and things to make jewelery for the girls and the boy got a little indoor nerf basketball hoop set along with a nerf gun. Then we gave the parents some money. It was great "

In Caitlin's words:
"We weren't able to get a picture of the kids opening their gifts but the family was incredibly thankful for the gifts and the help"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alberto Cairo: There are no scraps of men - YouTube

Alberto Cairo: There are no scraps of men - YouTube:

WOW! Watch this. It is amazing. Maybe my favorite "TED talk" ever. It sums up my view of why we help perfectly.

" Alberto Cairo's clinics in Afghanistan used to close down during active fighting. Now, they stay open. At TEDxRC2 (the RC stands for Red Cross/Red Crescent), Cairo tells the powerful story of why -- and how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war."

To Alberto Cairo, I do not know you, but I wish I did. You are my new hero.

To every volunteer we have had, watch it. This, better than even Three Cups of Tea, encapsulates why we do what we do. From after disasters, to locally, all jobs are high priority to those affected. It doesn't need to be a category 5 hurricane, or a F5 tornado, a leaking roof can be nearly as bad to those affected.

And finally, to every volunteer who wonders why we do so many wheel chair ramps: this, to a microscopically small small degree, is why wheel chair ramps are needed: wheel chair ramps aren't just an inclined entrance to a house, they are a road to a better life. And when watching, pay particular attention to the reason the son can now go to school. How many "sons" might our ramps set free in a similar manner?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Update from Bill on BonaResponds in Dallas (voice and pictures)

On Saturday 35 BonaResponds volunteers helped many others in the Dallas area to give disadvantaged children from the Dallas area a better Christmas season. Bill, John, and Bob (and of course others!) worked handing out presents, giving coats, and feeding thousands of hotdogs.

Here is Bill's voice mail explaining what they did:

And a short slideshow of their day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A "please come help call" from Alabama

I missed this call yesterday. I hope you don't now. Listen to it. It is worth it!

Remember to sign up ASAP for the Alabama trip! Jan 3 to 12th:

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Thank you from a former Allegany Resident

BonaResponds: Local Flood Clean UpImage by Bona_Responds via FlickrOne year ago to the week BonaResponds was very busy in flood clean up.  Today I was reminded of the great work that the volunteers did when Sr. Margaret (SBU president) forwarded the following email.  I took the woman's name off of it since I did not have permission to share, BUT I will say that I know the job and it was one that was REALLY cool since several people from Gowanda (a town that was flooded the year before where BonaResponds made many trips to--they are wearing the green shirts) came over to help. 

Email in its entirety (except name)

Sr. Margaret,

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you and congratulations for a job well done!!!  let me explain.
As an alumni, I am proud to say I graduated with my 1st Masters degree from St. Bonaventure.  Knowing I was born
and raised in Allegany, this makes me even more proud to know the university is involved and dedicated to the
community in a positive manner.

It was a while back now, during the last flooding that Allegany experienced.  My brother lives on Union Street in
our family's homestead.  It was always a wonderful place to live; however, the one challenge we always had was the
flooding of the Allegheny River. During the last flooding, my brother did get water, not only around the house, but
the basement, garage and almost into the house.  He had just had a hip replacement and was unable to prepare for the
flooding as normal.

When the water receded, he had damage to some walls, the furnace, and much of the insulation.  Being that I no longer
live in New York, I was unable to get there to help him out, but he said to me that everything was under control.  I
asked him what he meant by this.  He told me that several St. Bonaventure students were there and assisting him.  These
students worked very hard and were dedicated to helping him out.  They did a wonderful job.
I understand the  university has formed an organization to assist the community in this manner. 

Kudos to these students and all that they do!!!!  Kudos to the St. Bonaventure as well!!!!

Thank you!!!
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A poem for Santa and our Christmas Wish List

Christmas cards with angels, scandinavian “nis...Dear Santa,

As you know BonaResponds is very active on many different "fronts":  we help after disasters, he help locally in a plethora of ways, we help internationally (especially in Haiti), and we even help you with getting some presents for people who have less. 

We know the song.  The one that goes "he knows if you've been naughty or nice."  And we are sure if you think twice, you will know that BonaResponds has been extra nice.  That said, we'd like to give you a little reminder by poem. 

First we must apologize that the poem is pretty  bad, but here is a recap of the year we had.  

We helped near and far, by dipping into the donation jar.  We helped young school children and many a home bound senior citizen.  

We helped vets and pets.  

We helped schools with tools.  

We helped other groups, and even send messages to our troops. 

We worked in Greenville and Portville, we helped in Cotttondale and up the dale.   

We helped after big disasters, and single family's setbacks. 

We worked in the sun and on the run.  In the cold, we were bold!  

Our amazing crew in Dallas worked hard in every way, and they were never callous. They worked with the handicapped on horses and in courses. 

In Buffalo and Chicago, BR and others worked as one to get much done.   From handicapped camps, to wheelchair ramps we simply did what was needed.  

 While BonaResponds can not always not make things perfect, we made things better especially where it was wetter. 

Wearing our brown duds, we cleaned up after several floods.  We worked where people had lost their hope, but still had CitiHope! 

And as if on a dare, we went to Sayre where the water had been deep so the garbage we did heap.

We worked after tornadoes in Alabama, NY, and Massachusetts where we made new friends and helped those who had lost so much, realize the importance of a touch.  

We sent supplies to Haiti, and were never hatey.  

We built ramps, and ramps, and ramps.  Truth be told, many of us got sick of ramps, but they were what was needed, so the call we all heeded. 

So Santa, we think we have been good, we've helped in the hood and around the neighborhood.  The generosity of the volunteers and the donors have allowed us to helped near and far, but there is much more we can still do.  This is our Christmas wish list.   The list is not for us, but for those we help.  

Oh and PS, if you ever want to come volunteer with us, we'd love to have you along!  (We are always looking for drivers!  I wonder if we could get you and your sleigh approved?) 
We've compiled a list of things that would help us to help others.  If you could get us any of these items we would surely appreciate it and more importantly those we are helping would love it!

Haiti Related
  • Pens, pencils, calculators, crayons, notebooks, rulers, notebook computers, hand sanitizer, math or English books, small toys, deflated soccer balls.
  • For The CJM primary school in Leogane Haiti-- 8 French-English Dictionaries (they cost less than $6 at Amazon), also two notebook computers (or more)
  • For a school in Gonaives Haiti: musical instruments (used or new), sheet music, and a notebook computer.  
  • An education to someone in Haiti.  HaitiScholarships has a waiting list of students who want to go to school but can not afford it.  If you make a donation, a Haitian can go to school (HS pays up to 75% of their tuition) and you (or whoever you select) gets a certificate letting you know who is in school because of you (and with your permission) that student will send a thank you card too!)For about $1 a day you can literally change the life.  Think about it! $1.  
  • Tools (gently used or new) for a vocational school in Leogane Haiti.  They would like hammers, saws, tape measures, wire cutters, pipe cutters, a router, a drill, a plane, sandpaper, drill bits, or any other small tools. But really can use pretty much anything.   Indeed they would LOVE some contractors to volunteer to teach for a few weeks.  If any of your elves are available, let us know.

USA related

  • School packs (pencils, crayons, calculators, pens, and notebooks) for students in Buffalo, Camden, and elsewhere whose teachers have identified as in need of supplies.
  • Toys for a family in Sayre that we helped.  The mother was in a severe accident and then they were flooded out.  Very sad story.  
  • Grab bars (or money for grab bars) to install in homes of physically challenged in and around Western New York State.  We have been installing them for the Dept. of Aging, but the cost is adding up fast.  If anyone wants to donate for these, it would be excellent.
  • Money to buy lumber for wheel chair ramps.  It costs about $16 a foot for a ramp.  For every inch of elevation change, it is one more foot.  So this adds up.  Many of those in need cannot afford it.  Do we let them be home bound? 
  • A large sump pump (gas powered).  We "lost" ours in Margaretville after their flooding.  We have not needed it since (used small ones in Athens) but it is only a matter of time.
  • A compressor to run nail guns.   Each ramp has about 750+ nails.  A nail gun would make us faster and allow us to help more people.  
  • A volunteer to work a few hours during the week.  Of late we have Kevin and it is a HUGE help, but he will be leaving for South Korea soon.  The volunteer would help scout jobs, make occasional trips to Buffalo, and to keep the storage facility organized.
  • Christmas cards: we would love to deliver Christmas cards to local nursing homes and send them to the troops overseas.  Anyone who wants to help you with this, can leave them off at the Allegany Park and Shop (or any of the other Park and Shops, but you might have to explain more there---tell them to send the cards to Allegany attn BonaResponds).
  • More volunteers.  We always can use more volunteers. 
  • as much as we hate to ask, money for travel is also often a need.  Gas costs money.  If you wanted to drop off money in our stocking, that would be ok too, but we'd really rather you come volunteer. Volunteers are more appreciated! 

World Related

Oh and if you could tell everyone of our International Service Day (ISD) on March 31st that would be most excellent as well.  We are asking people to go help others where ever they are.  The jobs can be big or small.  Some alumni groups are doing it, but volunteers do not need any tie to SBU.  They just need a willingness to help and share their good deeds.  It is going to be a great day!  We already have volunteers in quite a few spots but we want thousands more!  so spread the word when you spread your good cheer. (

Thank you Santa! 

PS when you are doing your Christmas shopping, it would be really cool if you did it though Good Shop.  List BonaResponds as the charity and we get a small percentage of everything you buy.  From books at Amazon to just about everything elsewhere...if you buy online, go to first and remember to list BonaResponds as the charity. :) 
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