“Bucket Brigade” Contributes to Hurricane Sandy Recovery

Dec. 21, 2012 – Students, faculty and staff at Allegheny College participated in a coordinated effort with Stone United Methodist Church in Meadville to provide five-gallon buckets filled with cleaning supplies to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. A total of 79 buckets were collected through the efforts of the college, Stone United Methodist and other area churches.

The college also worked with Sherwin-Williams in Meadville to provide the empty buckets for individuals and organizations to fill from a list of cleaning supplies — such as liquid soaps, scrub brushes, sponges, gloves and trash bags — that would be most useful in clean-up efforts.

More than $4,600 in cleaning supplies were donated through the local effort, part of a national hurricane relief effort led by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

“Working with UMCOR was especially effective because they already have a structure in place to respond to natural disasters,” notes Dave Roncolato, the director of community service and service-learning at Allegheny. “UMCOR was able to distribute more than 19,000 cleaning buckets in just the first three weeks following Hurricane Sandy.”

The “bucket brigade” was just one way that the Allegheny community came together to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The college’s chapel congregation raised money for storm relief for residents of Hoboken, New Jersey, working through that city’s All Saints Episcopal Church, where the college’s chaplain, Jane Ellen Nickell, once worked. Donations will help rebuild the church’s food pantry, which was wiped out by the flood, and distributed to families in the city’s public housing neighborhoods, many of whom lost everything in the storm.

The college also organized a drive to collect warm winter clothing through the Salvation Army.

Roncolato says that the college’s efforts for Hurricane Sandy relief started when a student from one of the affected areas, Staten Island, asked, “What can the Allegheny community do to help?” Dean of Students Joe DiChristina then convened a group to explore which avenues to provide aid would be most effective.

Efforts will continue in the spring when Allegheny College partners with Community Collaborations International on an Alternate Spring Break trip. Allegheny students participating in the trip will work in one of the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

About the Office of Community Service and Service-Learning at Allegheny College

Through partnerships with local agencies, the Office of Community Service and Service-Learning sponsors diverse programs based on student interests and motivation. Students at Allegheny work with disadvantaged children, at-risk youth, mentally challenged people and the elderly. They tackle societal problems such as hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, wildlife rehabilitation and environmental decay.

Students can participate in one-time service projects such as Make a Difference Day, weeklong projects on Alternative Spring Break or on-going service opportunities in the local community. Last year, more than 60 percent of the student body at Allegheny College completed approximately 60,000 hours of community service.

More than 80 student service leaders are trained each year to lead on-going service with agency partners in the Meadville community. These students organize and facilitate programs at their site and recruit, orient and train other Allegheny volunteers. Peer-to-peer recruitment and student leadership are hallmarks of the service movement at Allegheny College.

About the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) — a not-for-profit organization whose work reaches people in more than 80 countries, including the United States — provides humanitarian relief when war, conflict or natural disaster disrupts life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own.

UMCOR is also the organization that implements the malaria eradication programs in Africa funded through the initiative Imagine NO Malaria. As a United Methodist related college, Allegheny is the headquarters for the Imagine No Malaria College Connection.