COMMUNITIES COMING TOGETHER
MUNCY – It wasn’t long before the conference room at Myers Elementary School in Muncy became stocked with supplies and clothing to help families who were gravely affected by last week’s destructive flood waters on Sept. 7 and 8. Principal, Bill Ramsey who is also the Emergency Management Coordinator for Muncy, helped to organize community members, staff, teachers and administrators in the school district to deliver the much needed items right to their doorsteps. All weekend they worked tirelessly. They came to the school on Saturday with trucks, SUV’s and vans to pick up supplies and take them directly to the families.
“We started loading the trucks this morning at 9 a.m.,” said Tammy Hartland, a teacher at the school. Using maps of the flooded areas and addresses of those who came and signed in, the volunteers were able to easily find the afflicted areas. “We are just following the flood debris line,” Ramsey said. Some of the hardest hit areas in Muncy were on Market and Washington Streets.
According to Ramsey, Shop-Vac donated some Shop-Vacs which went in the first half hour, Susquehanna Paper brought paper towels and toilet paper, and numerous private citizens and church groups brought in boxes of much needed items that eventually lined the hallways and conference room. Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Montoursville started to send over items on Sunday, as well as the Messiah Lutheran Church in South Williamsport.
Red Cross arranged to send 5 gallon buckets filled with cleaning supplies. “We are also getting gift cards ranging from ten to fifty dollars,” said Ramsey, “and flood victims can come in and sign for them.”
Throughout the day and all week people have been coming to the school according to Heather Diehl, a teacher and community volunteer. So far over 60 families have been given assistance and received donations. Both Ramsey and Diehl sent out e-mail notices to staff, friends, families and businesses asking for donations. “We received an abundance of supplies that included pet supplies, bedding, baby supplies, cleaning agents and some non-perishaable foods,” added Diehl.
There are several phases that are experienced during a disaster. Right now mostly everyone involved is in the “clean-up” phase after following a grieving process. “Some of our local places are pretty thin right now,” added Ramsey. “Some people need to come back multiple times.” The building remained open over the weekend for pick-ups and donations. Donations will still be accepted all week. “We don’t need clothing because most people didn’t lose clothing and those who did, can wash them. What we need are washers and dryers,” Ramsey stated. “We have 3 families who lost everything.”
Gift cards are always needed, and will be given to those who need them the most so that they can get more supplies down the road. “This is a long term process and the holidays are coming up too.” Anything that is left over will be donated to the Son-Light House.