A Community United: Aiding Flood Victims in Binghamton, New York

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 3:30pm

Guest blog by Lisa Rotter, First Responder with the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impression. In my first year of responding with the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team, I have been on all sorts of memorable deployments. Today I find myself in the quiet town of Binghamton, New York, responding to the devastating floods that submerged much of the surrounding counties.

Our job is simple—we are providing a safe, clean environment for pets while their families sort through the rubble of their waterlogged homes, trying to regain some semblance of normalcy. We are proud to provide them with this service as they feverishly work to bring their companions home.

Yet what strikes me most is not the families of our resident pets, but rather the members of the community who heeded the call for help. On our first day here, we put out a request through the local media for donations of cleaning products and pet supplies. Most of the surrounding stores were closed due to flooding, and many of the roads are impassable, making the delivery of outside supplies nearly impossible. We expected a community response, but nothing quite prepared us for the one we got.

The very next day a caravan of cars began pulling up to the emergency shelter. People began unloading trunks full of supplies and offering their time to wash bowls or clean cages. Some people quietly strode up to our donation pile and set down a single roll of paper towels. Others dropped off blankets and towels. We were simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity. These people had just lost their homes, their town was nearly destroyed, yet here they were—united.

One story that particularly stood out was of a 14-year-old girl. Despite her family’s home being uninhabitable, she found the time to go around the community to raise donations—and proudly handed us the $50 she’d collected.

This deployment is truly a shining example of people reaching out to one another in a time of need. Binghamton residents may live in a small town, but you’d be hard-pressed to find people with bigger hearts than theirs.

To learn more about ASPCA first responders, please visit our Raids and Investigations section.