Volunteering in Jacksonville Florida - December 2017

Over Winter break, members of CBOI and the Bucks County Community came together to volunteer their time, their strength and their efforts to help others in Jacksonville Florida who were flooded due to Hurricane Irma about 5 months ago.   Working with Nechama, the Jewish response to disaster, we helped to complete the gutting and mucking of two houses and spent the remainder of the week removing the belongings, furniture, sheet rock, carpet, insulation and more from a person’s house which flooded from floor to roof.  While others had stopped by to assess the situation, Nechama and our group of volunteers were the first to take on the daunting project of mucking out and gutting her home.  It was overwhelming at first to see the furniture strewn about the house, left where the flooding had taken it.  Her pictures were flooded, her books, her clothes and more were destroyed.

At the end of our time on Thursday afternoon, we reflected on how hard the work was but how we were able to help this one person begin to put her life together again after such a devastating event.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel spoke of his experience of marching in Selma with Dr. Luther King as if his legs were praying.  For me, cleaning out the house, helping a person make a start on rebuilding her life, even though she has much to go in the future was if my hands and body were praying and healing the world of pain.  I hope that others will come forward and offer their help.  Whether it be 5 minutes, 5 months or 5 years after these natural disasters people still need help.  If you want to do something make a donation to Nechama or volunteer your time.  It will be appreciated.​