Nine Franklin & Marshall students and 13 of the College’s faculty, staff, friends and alumni spent the last week of winter break helping to repair and restore a home in Lancaster City.
Organized by F&M’s Catastrophic Relief Alliance (CRA), the campus crew worked at a Manor Street property, framing, drywalling and doing electrical work. The effort was in concert with Impact Missions, a Lancaster organization that repairs structures for low-income families so they can stay in their homes.
“The Catastrophic Relief Alliance started 17 years ago after Hurricane Katrina,” said Andy Gulati, F&M science librarian and CRA adviser. “We usually travel to areas of the Gulf Coast like New Orleans and Houson to rebuild homes affected by natural disasters, but last March, due to health and travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19, we had our first local rebuilding effort. Need is everywhere, even in our own backyard, and CRA is excited to help.”
One CRA volunteer was Mark Ma, a sophomore from Vista, Calif., who is double majoring in business, organizations & society and cognitive science. “I’ve always had a passion for building things; I started building models when I was 6,” he said. “I’m also passionate about helping other people. I thought, ‘Why not combine the two and build something that helps other people?’”
Gulati notes that the group’s next effort will be this March during spring break. The volunteers will travel to Paradise, Calif., working with Mennonite Disaster Services in an area recovering from 2018’s Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.