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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Syracuse Relief Aid For Florence

By Byron Tollefson – Liverpool, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – Hurricane Florence is estimated to have caused $17-22 billion in damage. The storm brought significant rainfall to the Carolinas, causing death, evacuations, and flooding. At least 43 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the storm.

Now, Syracuse is getting involved to help those impacted by the storm. And one Liverpool church is taking charge.

The Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church is sending over one thousand buckets to the Carolinas to help those affected by the storm. More than 500 buckets have already been shipped.

The project is led by Mike Block, the group’s mission coordinator. He oversees the church’s volunteer efforts, including relief for natural disasters.

“Many families return to their homes and find them damaged or destroyed,” Block said.

The church’s program, known as the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), helps with clean-up and rebuilding. Volunteers assemble buckets, filled with three distinct kits. They include cleaning kits that include supplies that families may have left behind during evacuation. They are filled with dish soap, detergent, air freshener, sponges, work gloves, scrub brushes, and trash bags. They can help survivors clean their homes after the hurricane.

The church is also sending hygiene packages, containing washcloths, combs, band-aids, and soap. And for kids who need school supplies, the church is sending scissors, crayons, notebooks, rulers, pencils, and more.

It is so awesome to see the results of folks get excited feel resolved feel accomplished that they’ve done something not just for themselves but for their neighbors,” Block said. “And for those that need help, from other neighbors who are out there.”

Donations are shipped in from across the Northeast. One bucket from North Rose, N.Y. is signed “Given in Love.” Other buckets simply read “Let’s Do This.” Or “Do It Best.”

Volunteers are always welcome. The church works on outreach and disaster response throughout the year. In August, the church sent supplies to Pennsylvania after mass flooding that left some streets almost three feet high with water. Block said that by assembling kits throughout the year, they will always be ready if a disaster occurs.

Susan Latessa, who works in Human Resources, encouraged people in the community to get involved.

“We would welcome anybody,” Latessa said. “You don’t need to be United Methodist to come and help. We welcome everybody, disasters are non-discriminatory. Even 30 minutes of your time can make a big difference.”

For those interested in helping the disaster efforts, the church hosts volunteer days on Thursdays at 11 a.m. at 7481 Henry Clay Boulevard in Liverpool. You can also visit the church’s website at http://www.unyumc.org.