Meet the Neighbors: Banning Together After Hurricane Irene

“The Flats” just after Hurricane Irene, New Paltz. Wallkill View Farm lost 100% of their crops, just weeks from harvest.

The stories have been endless, shared teary eyed or invigorated, about the losses or the experiences of helping others in need as a result of Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.  We have been entrusted at Nectar with first-hand tales of whole houses and businesses being swept away, or submerged by water, plagued by persistent mold, too many lost crops and lost personal valuables and possessions.  We have been told of the awe of witnessing the sheer force of so much water, and a near drowning in a flash flood, (saved at the last minute by a neighbor who pulled this particular woman out to safety by her hair as she held onto her husband who had clung to a tree, unable to swim.) We have also been gifted with beautiful stories of what it felt like to help in the clean up effort– of clearing debris and roads, and of strangers becoming friends in the act of rebuilding and salvaging what could be.  My body chills as I write this, saddened and moved again and again by our collective stories, by the resilience of humans and nature, and by the outpouring of love that I have witnessed endlessly in this particular community called Ulster County (and it’s surrounds). It’s astounding, and I am so proud to call this place home.

In response to the knowledge of so much devastation, we started a two week fund raising initiative at Nectar to help out in a small way.  As I personally did not have the time to volunteer with Labor For Your Neighbor or other such organizations, (alas, a baby, teens, and my business means I am already juggling too much at the moment!) we started a 25% off All Furniture Sale as a way of generating extra income so we’d have something to give during a time when furniture sales are not at their height.  10% of those sales translated to $527 sent to Labor For Your Neighbor, Cuomo’s grassroots initiative, and an additional $250 to an individual who “lost everything.”  Thanks to everyone who contributed in seemingly tiny but hugely significant ways and blessings to those who are still rebuilding. -JW

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

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