GoFundMe, Community Fundraisers Helping Bucks County Flood Victims


If the last year has shown anything, it’s that the right people come together in the toughest times. Last week’s ‘century-old flood’ in Bensalem, Bristol Township and Bristol Borough is no exception.

From fundraising for meals to GoFundMe campaigns, the community is rallying around victims of the July 12 floods, many of whom still face complicated insurance claims – or who had no insurance coverage against them. floods.

“I’m so grateful for his help because I couldn’t afford to put my boys and I anywhere,” said Connie Leon.

Léon and his two sons were victims of the Lafayette Condominiums flash flood in Bensalem and lost everything. The family were at a Best Western for three days after the July 12 storms, with the help of a $ 500 American Red Cross gift card. Currently, they are staying at the Sheraton on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, thanks to Leon’s ex-brother-in-law who used his points to put a roof over their heads.

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Leon and his sons will be at the Sheraton until July 30, but after that time the family doesn’t know where to go. They lost their three cars because Leon only had one liability and his insurance company doesn’t cover that.

“We lost everything except our lives, which is obviously the most important thing, but we lost our livelihood…” says Leon. “So where do you go after hearing (that) nothing is covered, when you are just scratching as is.”

Leon is among dozens of displaced residents or their family members who have set up GoFundMe campaigns to help recoup some of their losses. As of Thursday, more than $ 4,000 had been paid to a Goal of $ 6,000 set by his sister.

Stacy Mulholland created a GoFundMe page for her mom Vickie Pacheco, who was a tenant at Lafayette Gardens and suffered the worst damage as it was near Poquessing Creek. Pacheco was homeless for five years before renting, which took a lot of time and work.

“She’s been recovering for a while, so for someone to work really hard on themselves and a better life, to lose everything like that…” Mulholland said.

The Red Cross was able to help Pacheco stay five nights at the Red Roof Inn, and Mulholland’s sister helped pay for the extra nights. However, Pacheco does not have tenant insurance and lives on limited disability income.

The mother and daughter contact the United Way and the Bucks County Opportunity Council to help Pacheco pay for another week at the hostel.

The Bucks County community has rallied with flood victims to help them stay afloat during this difficult time. This past weekend Bristol breweries came together to create fundraising opportunities with their drinks. Penn Community Bank collaborated with Bucks County United Way to gather supplies and goods to bring to families who have lost their homes.

Parx Casino recently donated $ 75,000 to the American Red Cross region of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Much of the word has spread through social media.

“I can’t begin to express enough how great it is to have this type of vehicle on Facebook so that I can reach out and ask for help, because that’s just one way that this genre information can be communicated to so many people ”, mentioned Lida goodhart, whose house on Hansell Drive in Bensalem was damaged by flooding. She and her husband currently live with their son in South Philadelphia.

Mulholland said she’s usually on the other end of fundraising, setting up campaigns to help other people. It’s different to be the victim for your mother. “It’s weird, you know. I live like this. I believe in philanthropy and helping people as much as you can. “

Seeing the amount of donations, especially from strangers, touched the hearts of the victims and gave them confidence in this difficult time.

“It just makes you sit down and realize that people can come together and be good people. You hear about all these bad things that are going on in our world and all the horrible things that people do, and it kind of makes you lose faith in humanity after a while… ”Leon said. “But, when you see people coming together and helping complete strangers as much as they can, it warms your heart. It makes you have a little more confidence in the human population.

Without the community, Leon doesn’t know where she and her sons would be, as she believes that helping outside the community “is a whole different story.”

No one wants to hear that their personal belongings will not be covered by their insurance company, and Leon thinks the government is “dragging its feet a bit.” Concerned about the unknown like so many others, she hopes to see more efforts being put in place to help the victims of this flood tragedy.

Because Pacheco has limited income, she has an emergency housing voucher from the Bucks County Housing Authority. Yet many apartment complexes only have availability in October and she cannot afford to stay at the hotel during that time. It has been a challenge to find a place among the means of Pacheco which accepts the voucher.

“I think it’s really important that we keep the word because next week it might be forgotten. We don’t want to let politicians forget it because we have to get to the bottom of it. We have to find out why we have been inundated the way we have been inundated, ”said Goodhart, who has lived in her home for 32 years and has never seen anything like it before.

Water was coming into his house from the principal of the old Armstrong Middle School, which was razed to be redeveloped. Goodhart wonders if there was enough attention for the storm water runoff, as anyone would hate to rebuild a house to be demolished again.

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Besides the obvious need for a home to start rebuilding lost livelihoods and return to some normalcy, missing a personal mode of transportation creates a great challenge for families in need. Leon and his family are forced to depend on others to replace them, whether it is as easy as filling his son’s prescription and shopping for groceries, in the long run, as his youngest son goes to college. in less than a month.

“It causes more anxiety and more stress on top of everything, not even having a vehicle to just go away and clear your mind of this tragedy,” she said.

Other essentials were lost, such as the loss of a college laptop. The two-year warranty is over and the Leons can’t afford a laptop at the moment, just as his son is entering his last year of school. Stress continues to build up from the simple but necessary personal effects that have been lost.

“She had a jewelry box that had nothing precious in it, everything was sentimental, but it was things that had no monetary value to you but just had sentimental value to her,” said Mulholland, on his mother.

And after?:“How long is this going to last?” Hundreds of people flock to Lower Bucks resource center for assistance after the floods, responds

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To help families in need, visit GoFundMe to find several families and couples to give. In addition, Building together a better Bensalem gathered resources for victims, such as food, shelter and mental health contacts, as well as ways for the community to donate and help their neighbors.

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