Bonner Scholars aid Trenton flood victims

College volunteers gathered supplies to aid South Trenton flood victims. (Photo courtesy of Timothy Grant)

In response to the destructive flooding that hit Trenton last week, College volunteers worked to help distribute supplies needed by South Trenton residents affected by the floods. Bonner Scholars went from door to door asking residents what they needed, while approximately 300 lbs. of clothing were sorted at El Centro, a family resource center in Trenton.

Thanks to grants from the Bonner Foundation, Youth Service America and State Farm Insurance, a group of almost 80 volunteers, including Bonner Scholars, staff workers and full-time members of Bonner AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA — a national service program designed to fight poverty — were able to collect much-needed supplies.

Kristi Cordier, an AmeriCorps VISTA leader, was surprised at how responsive the College community was.

“The response to donate on campus was overwhelming. In a couple of hours, we were able to fill two van-loads of donations from (College) students,” Cordier said in an email interview.
According to the Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement, South Trenton families still need supplies like water, food, clothing, bedding, hygiene products and diapers. Any students willing to send donations in any way can contact the Bonner Center at bonner@tcnj.edu or 609-771-2548.

“People want to do what is right,” said Megan Gerity, a Bonner scholar who was involved extensively with the relief efforts.

“Although it was inspiring that many volunteers came out to help, what was more motivational for me was the fact that we were able to help out in a significant way on the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” Gerity said in an email interview.
“By not turning our heads to ignore a serious issue, I feel as though we honored 9/11 victims, survivors and first responders in the most positive and appropriate way.”

Cordier had a similar feeling about being inspired to aid the community in light of the 10th anniversary of a national tragedy.

“As we reflected on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the relief efforts were an important reminder of the power of a community in a time of need,” Cordier said.