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Local volunteers helping with Mohawk Valley flood relief efforts

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A couple of local American Red Cross of Northern New York volunteers and staff members have spent the past week in the Mohawk Valley, helping flood victims recover from the June 28 and 29 storms that left many households and businesses under water.

Chapter Executive Jane G. Gendron said local Emergency Services Manager Kelly E. Hecker has been operating a shelter in Herkimer and Oneida, while Potsdam resident Timothy J. Schwob has helped throughout the flooded region.

“Many people don’t want to leave their homes, so the Red Cross figured we need to go out in communities to see what people need,” Mrs. Gendron said. “We want to get stuff out to folks immediately.”

Attempts Friday to reach Ms. Hecker were unsuccessful.

The Watertown-based chapter sent all 100 of its already packed cleaning kits, consisting of bleach, gloves, buckets, trash bags, and other cleaning supplies, down to the Mohawk Valley. As of Friday, Mrs. Gendron said, a total of 1,600 cleaning kits had been distributed to households, and more than 15,000 meals and snacks had been served. Three shelters have hosted about 300 people.

Mrs. Gendron said she received a report Wednesday that volunteers were needed down there for at least another week. Then, the effort would be turned over to that area’s Red Cross chapter to continue cleanup efforts.

She will arrive in the area Monday to tour the disaster relief effort’s headquarters.

The estimated relief effort of the Red Cross could total upwards of $1 million, Mrs. Gendron said.

“This is a major operation in our region, and we are hoping people will support the regional effort,” she said. “It can happen anywhere. Who knew the first week of July we’d have this flooding in Central New York. We just finished our (local) disaster campaign, and here we are with a disaster in our backyard.”

She said people can help out in the relief effort by dropping off cash or a check designated for this specific effort to the Red Cross, 203 N. Hamilton St. Donations also can be made online by following the prompts for contributing locally at www.redcross.org.

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