Oneonta Relief Corps Helps Sandy Victims

January 8th, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized

Adam Cox and Sarah Weigel deconstruct a house damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

A team of SUNY Oneonta volunteers traveled downstate in December to help victims of Hurricane Sandy get back on their feet.

Students Sarah Weigel, Maria Trupia, Adam Cox and Christopher Cure, December 2012 graduate Timothy Springer and Assistant Professor of Geography Wendy Mitteager worked through NECHAMA (Jewish Response to Disaster) on the six-day relief mission. The group stayed in Baldwin, N.Y., from Dec. 15-21 and traveled to several different communities, including Rockaways, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach and Coney Island.

The team “mucked” houses that flooded with water and mud when Sandy swept up the East Coast in October—hauling out ruined items, attacking dry wall with crow bars, extracting nails and wet insulation, and ripping out kitchen and bathroom fixtures. They also offered emotional support to victims, listening to their stories and sifting through debris to help save family photos and other precious items.

The relief mission was the first of several being planned through the college’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community (CSRC), which began mounting a volunteer response the day after the storm struck. With so many friends and family members living in the affected communities, news of the devastation hit hard, and the campus quickly mobilized to help. The college’s new Oneonta Relief Corps (ORC), a group of faculty, students and staff that formed in October and was planning a Hurricane Isaac relief mission in Mississippi, quickly changed gears to offer help closer to home.

The ORC organized several fund-raising events that netted nearly $900 to help finance relief trips. Across campus, groups and individuals donated food and supplies for storm victims. The CSRC collected several carloads full of nonperishable foods, flashlights, batteries, sleeping bags, diapers, school supplies and other items, and students and staff delivered the donations to downstate nonprofit organizations for distribution to those in need.