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A Brief History of Livingston CARES:

Introduction | Chronology

INTRODUCTION

Livingston County CARES, Inc. is a collaborative effort among groups and organizations at SUNY Geneseo and the Geneseo and Livingston County community that began in September 2005 to focus relief and recovery efforts in Harrison County, Mississippi. The initial groups and organizations that endorsed and contributed to this project include SUNY Geneseo students, faculty, and staff, the Livingston County Administrator, the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Geneseo, the Village of Geneseo, and the Livingston County Coalition of Churches.

In 2006, Livingston County CARES, Inc. was registered as a New York State non-profit organization. In March 2007, the IRS granted CARES tax exempt status under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

The Livingston County community watched in shock and disbelief as the levees broke in New Orleans and homes were leveled along the Gulf Coast. In response to numerous inquiries of "how can we help," SUNY Geneseo students, staff, and faculty and community residents met to discuss how to respond. It was decided that a long-term commitment would be made to a particular area, ensuring that we would provide temporary relief, but would also help the community rebuild. We have made a 10 year commitment to the area to help Harrison County residents return to their homes and communities.

In January 2006, the first Livingston CARES trip went to Gulfport with 32 people. Four and a half years later, a total of 15 trips have gone to Mississippi with 422 total participants. 4 more trips are planned for 2010, and plans are being made to commemorate the 5th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Our goal is to expand our mission of disaster relief and recovery efforts and supporting humanitarian efforts in the Western New York region. We have begun our "home-base" efforts with a flood relief trips to Binghamton, New York in 2006. We are in the planning stages of organizing day trips through Catholic Charities to visit senior citizens' homes and install grab bars, ramps, and more to make their home safe and accessible. We plan to do more locally in the future.

Chronology of Events: 2007-2009

To view our past trip reports chronicling volunteer work trip experiences, please visit the Trip Report page. The chronology below demonstrates Livingston CARES' long history of involvement in the Harrison County, Mississippi community and demonstrates our vision to continue this involvement until the work is done.

2007
| 2008 | 2009

2007

April 18: The 2nd Annual Livingston CARES Share and Care Dinner is held at the Geneseo United Methodist Church. Connie Rockco, Harrison County, Mississippi, District 5 Supervisor was the guest speaker.

May 16-23: The May 2007 work trip includes ten SUNY Geneseo students and six community members under the leadership of Dan Dimpfl, trip leader. Work was completed on three Habitat for Humanity houses.

June 29: Livingston CARES establishes a Board of Directors to manage the 501(c) (3) not-for-profit public charity corporation. Fourteen members were elected to serve as the first board, including: Jerry Alonzo, Kurt Christiansen, Joan Ellison, Kay Fly, Richard Hatheway, Connie Hurlburt, Kathleen Jones, Wes Kennison, Lyle Lehman, Tom Matthews, Cynthia Oswald, Doug Wilson, Dan Dimpfl, and Jennifer Delcourt.

July 10: The first meeting of the Board of Directors occurs, and the following offices are elected: Tom Matthews to serve as chair, Kay Fly to serve as Secretary and Lyle Lehman to serve as Treasurer. Matthews announces Senator Dale M. Volker's member item in the New York State budget of $10,000 to assist students in CARES volunteer work.

September 26: Board approves a donation of $2,500 to Moore Community House for purchase of classroom furniture and $500.00 to the Harrison County Greenhouse Project. Policies and committees related to running the organization are formalized. BJ Scanlon, the AmeriCorps VISTA, is elected to the Board for a one year term.

October 24: Board allocates $3,000.00 for financial assistance to volunteers.  Board approves an account with www.goodsearch.com that supports non profit agencies by donating one cent for every internet search done under its name. Students CARE, a group of SUNY Geneseo students involved with Livingston CARES  evolves. Their purpose is to raise funds for students participating in Livingston CARES trips to Mississippi as well as serve as an advocate for Gulf Coast recovery.

November 28: SUNY Geneseo student Amanda Flannery is elected to a two year term on the Board. Levels of financial giving are established: CARES Giver from $1-$249, CARES Donor from $250-$499, CARES Good Samaritan from $500-$999, and CARES Humanitarian $1,000. plus to recognize financial donors.
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2008

January 5-12: January 2008 trip includes 24 volunteers, working on projects such as assisting the Salvation Army with work on the Volunteer Village, as well as seven other local houses.

February 16-23: The February trip held during President's Week included 10 volunteers, with Chris Lynch as the trip leader. The group worked on the final stages of reconstruction of one house in Biloxi.

March 12: Board designates funds to the SUNY Geneseo Outing Club for a spring break trip to Louisville, Kentucky to continue work with the Living Lands and Living Waters Foundation project and clean up of the Ohio River.

March 14-22: 51 students and 4 staff members spent a week at the Salvation Army and at Popp's Ferry Elementary School, working on their landscaping, and sprucing up their playground. Three other homes were also worked on by volunteers.

April 15-17: 1st Annual Jail Break fundraiser sponsored by Students CARE is held. Several faculty, staff and student leaders served "jail time" and asked passers-by to help them get out of jail; passers-by also had the option to keep them "in jail." Fundraiser generates proceeds over $800.

April 23: Board approves a $1,000 donation to the Salvation Army for the Volunteer Village in Biloxi in honor of Edwin and Susan Britt for their work in operating Yankie Stadium.

April 23: The Third Annual Livingston CARES Share and Care fundraising dinner was held at the Geneseo United Methodist Church.  Multimedia collection of photos and videos of rebuilding efforts are shown. Jennifer Delcourt receives award for participating in four trips and for serving as the trip leader for the March 2008 trip.

May: Fifteen volunteers participated in the May trip to Biloxi with Dan Dimpfl serving as the trip leader.

June 18: Elise Arneson, AmeriCorps VISTA, is elected to the Board for a one year term.

July 23: Volunteers for 2009 trips will stay at Camp Victor in Ocean Springs and will work under the supervision of the East Biloxi Coordination, Relief & Redevelopment Agency (EBCRRA), a non-profit agency dedicated to helping people rebuild homes in East Biloxi.

September 23: Board members Lyle Lehman, Wes Kennison, and Richard Hatheway are elected for three year terms. Marissa Evarts, SUNY Geneseo student, is elected to a two year term. Tom Matthews is approved to lead the January trip, Tom Wilson to lead the February trip, and Elise Arneson, Amanda Flannery and Marissa Evarts to lead the March trip.

November 5: Lori McEvoy, Program Coordinator for the Livingston County Coalition of Churches is elected to a three year term. Board begins conversation about expanding our volunteer work beyond present efforts in Mississippi.

December 3: Karen Bailey is elected to a three year term on the Board of Directors.
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2009

January 3-10: 25 volunteers including 14 students participated in the January trip, working on two houses in East Biloxi. Flag pole ceremony occurs and Lvingston County and New York State flags are presented by Nick Mazza, Livingston County Administrator, and Cynthia Oswald, President of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce, to Connie Rockco.

February 4: CARES is registered with the New York State Charities Bureau. CARES joins the Network for Good to allow online financial contributions. Discussion continues on expanding work to other projects, such as the El Sauce Project in Nicaragua.

February 15-21: Eleven community volunteers from the Central Presbyterian Church and the Geneseo United Methodist Church participate in the President's Week trip to Mississippi, working on reconstructing two homes in East Biloxi.

March 11: Zach Monahan at Catholic Charities presents to the Board about local work projects.

March 14-21: 52 SUNY Geneseo students and 3 staff members work on several houses in East Biloxi. Elise Arneson, Amanda Flannery and Marissa Evarts serve as trip leaders and accomplish two weeks of scheduled work in their five days there.

April 6: Fourth Annual Livingston CARES Thank You Dinner is held at the Inter Faith Center with southern cooking, reflections from volunteers, and recognition and awards.

May 17- May 23:
Fifteenth trip goes to Biloxi with 28 participants under the leadership of Geneseo alum Trevor-Ramsey Macomber.
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