During Hurricane Irene, the waters of the usually calm and placid Rondout Creek rose suddenly and completely overtook the house that we have been renting. Without time to move our belongings to higher ground, the first floor of our house (bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom and dining area) became submerged under three and a half feet of rushing, muddy, flood waters. The waters were so strong that they ripped the whole porch and our propane tanks off the house and sent them downstream. The waters floated our couch off the floor and drove it through the sliding glass doors, creating an open stream through which many of our belonging then raged downstream. Everything is the house was crashed around as if on the high seas. The refrigerator rose off the ground and was found lying on the floor.
We lost our bed, much of our furniture, some of our clothes, most of our electronics (phones, tv, dvd player, vacuum cleaner, dehumidifier, speakers, hard drives), important paperwork, family photos, etc. We have been humbled and touched by the outpouring of generosity from all our friends and family! You are all amazing! People helped for days & nights on end packing our ruined household items into contractor trash bags, chopping open our water logged furniture to sort through the drawers, drying out our muddy, water logged paperwork, belongings and clothes, and doing load after load of muddy laundry until late at night. You all truly embody the definition of community.
This all happened while Michael was on a trip to visit a good friend in Bellingham, Washington. His flight back was scheduled for Sept. 1st. He went to the airport early to try to get a flight home, but there was nothing available because the airports were filled with people whose flights were canceled during the storm. So he took charge of many details from a distance.
A lot of people have been asking us if they could help us out with financial donations, so, after some cajoling, we’ve set up this site. We tend to be more comfortable being on the other end of this type of thing and it is not easy for us to ask for or receive help. But we are settling into the idea and have even found some solace in it.
If you feel inclined to make a donation, we will accept any gift no matter how big or small. But don’t feel pressured. The link below is a secure paypal button that will allow you to donate money with your credit card, debit card, or paypal account into our account. Feel free to share this site with anyone you think might be interested. We will slowly be replacing the damage items as time allows.
Thank you all so, so, so much for all of your help and generosity. It’s a humbling and powerful feeling to have so many people in our corner during this time. Please know that we are so immensely grateful to all of you for all the different roles that you’ve played in lending us a hand!!
One piece of good news is that Jacinta’s much-loved koala bear has made it through the flood safely! We feel grateful that our top floor was completely untouched…which means all of our art studio, guest bed, Michael’s deejay equipment, and some of his music studio survived.
Since setting up this site, we have had an awe inspiring outpouring of financial support, loving emails, texts, offers of furniture, household items, and places to stay from SO MANY OF YOU! We REALLY regret not being able to thank people individually right now. Our days and nights are spent sorting through the wreckage and recovering from the trauma. We will just try to take in the kindness and accept the beautiful gifts that you all have given us. From the bottom of our hearts: a big huge loving thank you. You know who you are. You mean the world to us.
Update since the flood waters receded:
1) Jacinta spent the first several days at Carrie & Mike’s and Hope & Sean’s. The level of caretaking and help she received was unbelievable. There was an INCREDIBLE, compassionate, hard-working team of support that just kept expanding during these first few terrifying, stressful days.
2) We will be staying at Michael’s mom’s house in Stone Ridge for a while to get back on our feet. We have a beautiful room and we get to share daily meals, coffee, inspiring chats, and quality time with Marta, which is a silver lining to all this.
3) We have many of our personal items packed up, cleaned, and in storage. We had an incredible gang of friends and family come to our aid in this mammoth endeavor.
4) SO many of you have offered replacements for our lost household goods. Lists of any items can be sent to Amy Myslik at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is compiling a list and we will start to respond in the next few weeks/months. Right now we don’t have a place to put anything extra but we love that you are thinking of us.
5) Before this happened, we were in the process of saving money & looking at houses (through RUPCO’s first time home-buyers program) to buy in the Rosendale area. We are halting that process so we can deal with all the dizzying details of the hurricane’s aftermath on our lives.
6) We have begun the process of applying for FEMA.
7) We are talking to our renter’s insurance company about what they will or will not cover. Our policy explicitly states that it does not cover flood…but this is a hurricane, so we shall see. Our landlord has flood insurance so we are also looking into that. What coverage, if any, we will get is unknown at this point, but we are working on it!
8) Michael has returned safely back to the Hudson Valley! YAY!
9) Jacinta’s mother, step-father and neighbors in Pennsylvania took many of her antiques that she has had since childhood to try to restore them. They were muddied, swollen, and smashed apart by the gigantic waves that tore apart the house but we are getting positive reports that some of the furniture can be saved.
10) We have a new storage unit where many things are dry and safe.
11) We read each and every one of your emails. We listen to all of your messages. They all help us through this difficult time. Thank you for reaching out to us. We are a little overwhelmed. Just know we take each of you into our hearts. It means the world to us.
We have been absolutely moved to the core by everyone’s generosity. We understand that there are a lot of people in need of help right now and by no means do we think that we are the only ones or even the ones in the worst shape. Do not feel obliged to donate. There are so many people in need in this area and there are various ways you can be of support to them. Entire farms, homes and businesses were lost in the Hudson Valley. Rescue crews, highway dept crews, firefighters, etc have been working around the clock. Consider donating to them and other families that have lost everything. The firefighters and county employees were loving angels to Jacinta as she sought help and information about how to proceed. One firefighter held her hand, cried with her, and invited her into his home anytime she wanted a cup of coffee.
From the spectacular outpouring of love, we have been made acutely aware of how beautiful of a place this world is and how totally awesome all of you are. No joke. There are many blessings to be found in this. A letting go of material possessions can be completely cathartic. And the way this brings us closer to our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and community is breathtaking. There hasn’t been a day we haven’t cried out of the sheer awe we have for each one of you. This relevant quote comes to us from our friend Tricia. It helps to be friends with a lot of social workers during times like this:
“Barn’s burnt down—
I can see the moon.”
Love, Michael Wilcock (Truckpile) and Jacinta Bunnell
Donations can also be mailed to:
Jacinta Bunnell & Michael Wilcock
PO Box 325
Rosendale, NY 12472
view more photos here