PA town needs volunteers

With more than 90 cases remaining on the disaster relief agency's list in Bloomsburg, Pa., there's one major thing the. Rev. Tom Young needs to see in the New Year.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BLOOMSBURG, Pa. | December 24, 2006



"We've had a tremendous response from people and we're so pleased with the people who come here to help us out."

—Rev. Thomas Young


With more than 90 cases remaining on the disaster relief agency's list in Bloomsburg, Pa., there's one major thing the. Rev. Tom Young needs to see in the New Year.

"Volunteers," said Young, who chairs the Columbia County Volunteer Organization for Disaster Relief (CCVODR). "They can clearly still be of help if they're willing to do it. Skilled and unskilled are welcome."

CCVODR is working on homes damaged by severe flooding in June of this year. Young said while volunteers were steady in the summer and fall he has no groups scheduled yet for 2007.

Residents say the June flooding was the worst the area has ever seen, even worse than the flooding in 1972 caused by the remnants of Hurricane Agnes. CCVODR helps residents all throughout Columbia County, but the cities of Fernville and Bloomsburg saw some of the worst damage. The Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek swept some homes off their foundations and severely damaged many others.

Young estimates CCVODR, made up of churches and community service agencies, has worked on at least 300 cases since the flooding. "There were something like 1,247 cases registered with (the Federal Emergency Management Agency)," explained Young, who also pastors Wesley United Methodist Church in Bloomsburg.

CCVODR worked closely with FEMA and other state and local government agencies to address the needs of families who could not receive help from other sources. CCVODR's member organizations and volunteers have done a little bit of everything to help affected family, from replacing appliances such as stoves and furnaces, to gutting and putting up new drywall.

"We're making excellent progress at this point, but there are still things that need fixed up," said Young. "We still have some drywalling, spackling and painting to do, among other things."

Young said volunteer groups have helped CCVODR's response get to where it is today, with groups coming in from nearby cities and states, and even a long-term group from the Christian Appalachian Project of Kentucky. "We've had a tremendous response from people and we're so pleased with the people who come here to help us out. It's been an enriching experience meeting everyone."

The families that receive the help are grateful, too, he said. "People say thanks for caring about us, and thanks for remembering us. It's been since June and it's no longer a soundbite - and it wasn't much of one then either."

Young said CCVODR worries about the families still stuck living in FEMA trailers on their properties. Many are waiting to see what's next, and he said CCVODR will help as many as it is able to. "We've fixed furnaces and heat pumps - and really done anything we can to help folks. We help everyone, too, doesn't matter what religion. We just knew people were hurting and that we had the resources to help, so we got involved."

Now he hopes that the generosity will continue and more volunteers will come in January and February. For those who come, he said, they have seen benefits on both sides. "They've been blessed by coming and we've been blessed by them helping out."


Related Topics:

Solutions for flood insurance

How US flood insurance works

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More links on Flooding

 

Related Links:

Wesley United Methodist Church

CCVODR's Volunteer Needs

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