Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, but not all floods are the same. In New Jersey, flash floods develop in just a few minutes. Flash floods are the rapid and extreme flow of water into normally dry areas or the rapid increase in water level in a stream or creek.
Some of the most common flash flooding in this area is snowmelt flooding. This occurs when melting snow causes a major source of water to overflow quickly. The snowpack can hold water for a long period of time until the temperature rises above freezing and the snow melts. Once the snow melts, the water acts similarly to a large rainstorm and penetrates the soil, runs off into rivers or lakes, or both. This can cause massive overflowing as a snowpack can contain gallons of water.
This is extremely dangerous when there have been large amounts of snowfall in a winter with little time above freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, New Jersey has experienced both in the last few months.
In order to prepare for flooding this spring below are some simple steps you and your family can take to stay safe:
- Make an inventory of household items for insurance purposes
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts to allow for proper drainage
- Move furniture, valuables and important documents to safe, dry places
- Put together a safety kit with water, canned food, first aid, radio, flashlights and blankets
- Be aware of the flood evacuation route in your area and know alternative routes from home, work and school
Once you and your family are prepared for floods, there are ways to volunteer to get your community prepared as well. Volunteer to help elderly neighbors clean their yards of debris or volunteer at one of Jersey Cares Environmental Stewardship opportunities across the state.
For more information on floods and how to protect your family, please visit www.ready.gov/floods and www.floodsafety.noaa.gov.
One of our Project Coordinators, Becky Bongiovi, describes her involvement connecting seniors in service for the Jersey Cares Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
What happens when you have a group of willing and able volunteers without transportation? You bring the event to the volunteers, of course!
In celebration of Jersey Cares Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, seniors at an assisted living facility in Hillsborough took a break from games and recreation to make no-sew fleece blankets for a local children’s shelter. One generation gave back to another to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
As a Jersey Cares Project Coordinator, I am constantly on the lookout for new volunteers, either for the Volunteer Opportunity Calendar project I lead, Cooking Creations in Somerset County, or one of the other exciting projects managed by Jersey Cares. Often times those persons are right in front of me if I look hard enough, engage in some conversation and connect the right people together. With a little imagination and a dream, anything is possible!
Volunteers with their finished product
As a response to all of the amazing volunteer work being done across New Jersey, the Jersey Cares City Spotlight will showcase exceptional civic engagement weekly in a specific New Jersey community.
Jersey Cares volunteers sorting and distributing food at Mobile Meals in Paterson.
Jersey Cares mobilizes volunteers in the City of Paterson four days every week in addition to corporate service and additional events. During the week, Monday-Thursday, there are opportunities for volunteers to give back on multiple hunger programs including collecting, sorting and packing food outdoors on Mobile Meals and organizing donations for distribution on Market Place projects.
Last year, Jersey Cares distributed over 5,600 coats to 17 different agencies in the City of Paterson. Over 130 children received holiday gifts and two corporate volunteer groups provided more than 50 hours of service on team building activities. These volunteers prepared and served 20 hot meals, planted flowers and served nearly 100 kids on two separate days of service.
If you’d like to give back in Paterson, there are opportunities throughout the month on the Volunteer Opportunity Calendar or you can join us on Saturday, May 3 for Jersey Cares Day to paint classrooms in a local community center. For more information, see www.jerseycaresday.org.