Jacinta and Michael’s house was flooded by three and a half feet of water.

30 Aug

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 breathe311@gmail.com.  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


26 Responses to “Jacinta and Michael’s house was flooded by three and a half feet of water.”

  1. Jacinta and Michael's Flood Relief Site August 31, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    The donations have been rushing in! You are all amazing, I can’t even put into words how grateful Jacinta and I are for everyone’s help. Please feel free to leave messages here as comments, or anyone who’s helped in the effort, please leave a story if you feel so inclined. Thank you in advance to everyone who continues to give. We will be forever grateful! Love, Michael

    • Moira Dwyer August 31, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      hi guys! i love love love you. you can apply for individual FEMA relief tomorrow Sept 1st. Call me in my office at the red cross if you need help 845-471-0200 ex 310

      Good morning
      Ulster County has received a Presidential Disaster Declaration for
      Hurricane Irene. We have been deemed eligible for both Individual
      Assistance and Public Assistance.
      Public assistance will allow municipalities and certain non profits to
      rebuild roads and infrastructure.
      Individual assistance will allow residents and businesses to file for
      federal assistance. Applications may be submitted beginning tomorrow,
      September 1 by calling 1-800-FEMA (3362), or filing on-line by logging onto
      http://www.disasterassistance.gov. Hearing impaired individuals using TTY may call
      1-800-462-7585, or via video relay at 1-800-621-3362. These phone lines
      are available from 7 AM to 10 PM seven days a week. We also anticipate that
      a Disaster Assistance Center MAY open in the County.
      More information will follow.

    • JoElle August 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      there are disaster relief funds that have been set up for the counties worst hit, Ulster is one of them.

      If you can post a list of things you need (when you get back) I would be more than happy to give whatever I have. (Full sized bed, dressers….whatever you need).

      Be well, and I am thankful you were not home, and are safe.

  2. Elena August 31, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    My heart breaks for you two. I wish I could be there to help in person. A small donation is on the way and I hope to do more after payday. May all of the love and generosity you have sent out into the world come back to you now. Much love, Elena in Eureka

  3. trinity August 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    are there items that you guys need?

  4. Rebecca Rotzler August 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    My co-worker has a rental available and is flexible on a deposit. So sorry to hear what you are going through!!


  5. Alice August 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Alice heard about your troubles through Phillies Bridge Farm where she is a shareholder. She has many furniture items she would be glad to give. Let her know if you’re interested.

  6. kate walker August 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    omg when i saw the fridge in that pic i got chills…I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT YOU WERE NOT HOME! looks like the water was so powerful, i mean, the fridge alone could have hurt you! sooooo happy you are safe, lovely friends ❤ ❤ ❤

  7. Jacinta and Michael's Flood Relief Site August 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Thank you everyone for your tremendous generosity. We are astounded by the outpouring. We feel so blessed to have such a caring, beautiful community. We realize that they are many other people in terrible shape, even worse than our situation. We are grateful for our health, community and all the selfless giving that everyone has shown us. We will be eventually getting back to everyone about offers for household items, etc. as we figure out our next moves. Currently we are just going through the motions of canceling utilities, etc. and figuring out how to move forward. We have a place to stay and are healthy and safe!! Thank you, so much everyone!!!

    • Judge September 1, 2011 at 2:06 am #

      Sending you my thoughts. I will be out in NY in October and will check in to see how I can help you guys out (moving, building, organizing, whatever you need!). xo judge

  8. Andy Van Ness August 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Hey you guys. Still getting reports on what all went down in Ulster County, while keeping an eye on my friends and family here in Vermont. It’s heartbreaking seeing so many homes, businesses, farms, livestock get washed away. Yet right now it’s uplifting to hear of actual people I know and miss in the Rosendaly-area who are safe, albeit dampened. Would that I could help with cash, but alas. But knowing you two, that dampening won’t apply to your spirits. Love and light and dryness to you.

  9. Tovah Gidseg September 1, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Oh no! Michael and Jacinta, I am so incredibly sad to see that your house sustained so much damage. How terrifying. My dad says contact SUNY New Paltz – He keeps getting housing listings on his faculty e-mail. Seems there’s some housing department that is posting them? I will pass the word on about your fundraising efforts and when I can I will make a donation as well. Stay strong, friends!

  10. Lisa September 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    So glad you are safe and healthy . Material items can and will be replaced in time. Donation on the way.
    Lisa and Gary

  11. Dave September 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Michael, I have an acoustic guitar that I never use and you can have it if you’d like. Email me at dsiegelno9@yahoo.com if you want it.

    Hang in there you two!

  12. jonas, sara, and lucy September 2, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    we love you guys and we’re glad you are safe. if we were closer we would be there with you and be honored to give you anything you needed. we are sending a donation tomorrow. Lucy wants to hug the teddy bear. love always jonas sara and lucy. it’s very brave to ask for help. and lucy loves the teddy bear.

  13. alan silverman September 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Go to foreignwide.com & tool around, I can’t take a full hit, but you can have anything you see on the site below my cost, say like $90 for a queen size futon, I have a new basic full size bed in stock like for $60

  14. Elizabeth September 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    When u have time come by Soiled Doves
    I have some useful vintage to give to you

  15. Lee Brune Murray September 3, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Cinta and Michael…so relieved that you are both safe…so very, very sorry to see the devestation to your lovely home…and Cinta, losing the beautiful furniture that your mom and my mom so lovingly restored for you just GONE…how impossibly heartbreaking…I wish I were closer to lend you a helping hand and moral support…but I have made a donation to help in whatever way I can…it’s not a fortune, but what I have is yours and I hope it helps! I love you both! Cousin Lee

  16. Dawn Deevy September 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    My Darlings!!!! So sorry, I have a couple of chairs- and a hutch if you want. I sent a bit of $, let me know what else I can do. Love, love, love, Dawn

  17. artvisions September 4, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    JACINTA!!! Oh I’m so sorry — and I’m in so much and deep understanding — We also got our bottom floor filled with three and a half feet of water — and so much mud and silt and dirt… and so many things lost. Water is so powerful. I’m so sorry… At some point in the future we will share stories of our misery and it will seem distant and tolerable then. Right now — I’m just so sorry…. much love to you and Michael…xo Tracy

  18. Alice D. September 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    So sorry to hear of your losses and glad that you have such a wonderful community of friends!
    Sending much love,and a contribution to follow,
    Alice D. (from Boston)

  19. Slam'n Sway September 7, 2011 at 2:00 am #

    Pinky Swears from the Hudson Valley Horrors Roller Derby League sent out an email to our entire league. I am more than happy to donate. The KissUps played at one of our bouts and we are pretty friendly with BRAWL. I hope you’re all back on your feet asap. Sending prayers and positive energy your way. 🙂

    ~Slam’n Sway #69~
    Hudson Valley Horrors RD

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