Hurricane Irene changed farms and rural communities to an extent never seen before in rural Northeast New York and many parts of New England. Losses to homes, farm buildings and crops totaled more than $30 million dollars over the amount covered by insurance – just in Schoharie County, N.Y., reports Bill Brown, Northeast area coordinator for Fellowship of Christian Farmers International.
"The response to the needs of hurricane-ravaged Schoharie County has been a testimony to farmers and town folks alike," adds a deeply appreciative Brown.
"The need for hay to feed cattle was evident everywhere."
Since the calamity struck, FCFI has delivered 10 tractor trailer loads of hay to needy farmers. With a total value of $35,000, the hay was donated by several New York farmers wanting to help others in need.
Most of the trucking was also donated or at least done at a very low cost. Brown notes that FCFI is so thankful for all who gave sacrificially to help those in need. He adds that a special thanks is in order to Pastor Jim Wolford, of Gallupville Gospel Church, "for being our hands and feet on the ground."
Much more to be done
"Even with all that's been accomplished, there's still lots to be done," reports Brown. "The work in rebuilding farming operations is nearly complete and they are getting their operations up to speed. However, the villages of Schoharie, Prattsville and surrounding areas are still in need."
Sarah Goodrich, executive director of Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) had this to say: "As much as we've done and as far as we've come, there more than we've done that's still left to do."
Some 50% of the homes in Schoharie are still on the list needing help before families can return home. In Prattsville, that number rises to 75%.
Much of the heavy cleanup work in done. But volunteers are still needed to finish basic cleanup, prep work for carpenters and installing insulation and sheet rocking. Plumbers, electricians and wall board tapers are still much needed skills.
If you or your group would like to help, please contact Dennis Schlagel at the FCFI office at (309) 365-8710, Pastor Jim Wolford at (518) 466-8654, or Bill Brown (315) 736-5964. FCFI also accepts cash donations to help those in need. Contact Schlagel or Brown for details.