By Fred Gaffney, President
The impacts of the flooding in our area will be felt for weeks, months, and, likely, years. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes, with many wondering where their next home will be. Roads, bridges, and other infrastructure is being repaired. Businesses, parks, and other public places have been decimated. One has to wonder when life might feel “normal” again.
There is at least one silver lining in this tragedy, the community spirit which has helped carry us through. There cannot be enough praise for the emergency responders and officials who were engaged from the earliest hours of the emergency until all were out of harm’s way. Human service providers including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, AGAPE, and other groups worked tirelessly to provide essential services to those directly affected. And the response by thousands of friends and neighbors who have stepped up to volunteer and make donations has been remarkable.
While the toil in the early days was exhausting, the work, as well as the need for assistance, is far from over. Homes, businesses, and properties are still rebuilding. Human service agencies need financial support to pay for the food, lodging, cleanup supplies, medicine, and many other ongoing needs. Everyone in the area can help in some way.
In addition to the thousands of homes that were damaged, dozens of businesses, including our area’s largest manufacturers, small retail and service businesses, and non-profits agencies, were also flooded. The loss of power and running water forced the shut down of many more for days. The subsequent cancellation of the Bloomsburg Fair dealt another blow to hundreds of local businesses that rely on the event. While the total economic loss as a result of the flooding cannot be fully calculated, it is staggering just to consider. Among the many ways to help rebuild our communities is to support the local businesses that provide our economic base in the form of jobs, taxes, and other resources. Eat at local restaurants, shop for goods and holiday gifts, and utilize them for services. We can all play a role.
Our ability to fully recover relies on an ongoing spirit of community. Your friends, family and neighbors are also people who work at or own these local businesses. Remember them as well, and utilize them whenever possible.