This past Saturday, a group of Steins and FLS alumni headed out to Averne to partner with Respond & Rebuild and fight some mold as part of our Stein Service Project.
The group participated in the on-going battle against mold. Many of the residents are either unable to afford contractors (many of whom are price gouging) to successfully rid houses of mold or are in insurance limbo and in the meantime, are living in toxic environments. (Breathing mold is pretty bad for you.) Respond & Rebuild has employed an effective, public-health-officer-approved multistep process that fights mold for residents of the Rockaway.
Houses that have been flooded during Sandy are first stripped of all damaged, non-structural wood and dry wall. The areas are then fully dried before the structural wood is completely scrubbed with metal brushes and all the dust is vacuumed. After the scrubbing, the wood is then soaked in detergent to kill off the mold. We were told that the reason that the wood is scrubbed before it is soaked in detergent is because mold has roots and the scrubbing destroys those roots and the detergent can then fully penetrate the wood and remove the mold.
Led by a Respond & Rebuild team leader, our dedicated group spent the day (9:30AM-4:30PM) scrubbing the basement of a homeowner who had damage to her first floor, which, pre-Sandy, she had rented out to a tenant. There was lots of dust but were equipped with respirators and Ghostbuster suits. Respond & Rebuild takes the safety of their volunteers very seriously.
We were super impressed with Respond & Rebuild's organization and quality of work. Many of us pledged to return in the future to help them with the ongoing process of rebuilding the Rockaways. Respond & Rebuild can be followed on Facebook and also has a registry of the supplies they need to keep up their excellent work.
Much thanks to those who volunteered at and attended the 2012 PIRC Ball, as funds raised during the ball were used to provide transportation for the volunteers. Also thanks to the Fordham alumni who came out to help and thanks to a Stein-by-association (the husband of a Stein) who volunteered and drove half the group and many of the supplies in his truck.
|Lots of work gloves and they always need more|
|Respond & Rebuild headquarters|
|Digging through the work gloves|
|Respond & Rebuild's Jeff gives the safety talk|
|The truck loaded up with mold fighting supplies|
|We're not messing around|
|Steins scrubbing away|
Update: here's a really great article on Respond & Rebuild's efforts in the Rockaways!