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'Right now there is no running water or food': Eight Days of Hope sends 25 Buffalonians to aid in Ida relief

Eight Days of Hope Buffalo chapter in New Orleans.png
Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 10:58:33-04

NEW ORLEANS (WKBW) — Relief efforts for states in the gulf coast continue after Hurricane Ida's category 4 storm made landfall, Sunday evening.

About 25 Buffalo volunteer leaders have made the trek to New Orleans, through Eight Days of Hope, a national Christian non-profit, that helps on the construction aspect of disaster relief.

Volunteers from the Buffalo chapter will be in Crawfish Town for three weeks, working to salvage homes devastated by flooding.

The group is planning to meet with families whose homes have flooded and remove anything that is wet or damaged before any kind of mold sets in.

"Once mold sets into a home, you can't rebuild it. Our goal is to get there fast enough to take the sheet rock out, insulation out, spray for mold, use fans and the humidifiers, get the moisture out of the homes so that they can rebuild it," Eight Days of Hope, director of operations Chandler Gurley said. "With a tree crew, you're going to have five to six people for safety, for pulling the limbs, for doing multiple things with that. So, even if there is a volunteer that's not as skilled, but they're actually cutting the tree, they are doing a lot of work with the trees."

Work begins Saturday, according to Gurley.

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Gurley described the area as a disaster zone.

"It is a mess and when you drive in, you're kind of overwhelmed by the sense of what these people went through. Each gas station has hundreds of cars because they're trying to get fuel for many different things; their cars, their generators, whatever they have to power up their home. A lot of this area does not have electricity. We're on backup generators right now at the church," Gurley said. "We're thankful to be here. God has called us to be his hands and feet and he has blessed us with equipment and leaders, and the ability to come and respond to something like this. We're so thankful that everyone in Buffalo who partners along side us, we know that there are many people that have reached out just being willing, asking what can we do."

The non-profit is currently staying at Church of the King - St. Charles Campus. She said roughly 2,000 families were fed by the church Wednesday night, explaining the magnitude of what residents are dealing with.

"There are hungry people, there are thirsty people, and right now there is no running water or food, so it's a lot to take in," Gurley said.

Gurley said the non-profit is also keeping their eye on the damage sustained in New York City and other east coast states, but because the group is already aiding cities that have been damaged with recent natural disasters (Waverly, Tennessee; Iuka, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana), it would be difficult to continue to spread the Buffalo chapter even more at the moment.

She said if anything, they would financially partner with a different organization, for right now.

Anyone interested in donating time or monetary value to Eight Days of Hope, can do so here.