Posted by Elizabeth Hopkins
On Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 Skidmore hosted a two-day donation drive for Hurricane Irene flood relief efforts in the surrounding areas. By early Wednesday night many donations were already being made in the lobby of JKB Theatre. The drive was planned for Rosh Hashanah as a way to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
Bernhard Theatre was filled with plastic bags and cardboard boxes sitting in stacks of various sizes and crowded around a whiteboard that read: IRENE FLOOD DONATIONS HERE. Within the bags were various items: foodstuffs, toiletries, cleansers, water and countless other necessities, all waiting to be carted to Cobleskill, a town located one hour and 15 minutes away from the college.
The rabbis leading the service, both from Temple Sinai, are half of the team running this charity, working in partnership with the Giving Circle, an international organization dedicated to providing aid to those in need. In addition, Skidmore Hillel (the Jewish student organization on campus), the Office of Community Service and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life sponsored the drive.
The small charity is just one of many recent efforts made to counteract the devastation of the flood, which damanged many small towns in upstate New York.
"Cobleskill was one of the worst-hit towns in the area," said Lollie Abramson, one of the organizers of the drive.
Schoharie County, where Cobleskill is located, was severely damaged by the flood, and many houses and businesses suffered severe water damage. Major roadways that were washed away in the storm are still in need of repair.
In the town of Schoharie, the floodwaters left layers of mud covering everything, from people's houses to backyards and farms. Fields of corn were destroyed and harvests were too waterlogged to produce profit.
The efforts of local organizations such as the Giving Circle have helped to ameliorate the effects of the hurricane. Even massive corporations such as Dunkin' Donuts have initiatives to help. The branch in Albany, NY announced on September 20 that it would be collecting charity throughout the region to help the aid efforts through Oct. 2.
The Red Cross has been continually active in helping those in need throughout the area over the past month. In the upstate region alone, 180 people remain homeless even a month after the storm, and the Red Cross continues to support thousands of individuals in need of food and other supplies.
Last week, Proctors Theater of Schenectady hosted a benefit concert, the proceeds of which were sent to the Red Cross to help relief efforts.
Here on campus, the charitable goods will travel to Cobleskill. There, the Schoharie County Committee Action Program will disperse the goods amongst those in need..
Lollie Abramson will still collect donations in room 309 in Case Center for students who are interested in contributing to the relief efforts.
"Anything you can give, whether it be $5 or a gift card, especially to any grocery stores or places like Home Depot or Lowe's, would be greatly appreciated," Abramson said.