F&M Stories

Students, Staff Help Local Neighbors, Build Community

For spring break, the Catastrophic Relief Alliance (CRA) at Franklin & Marshall College joined with Impact Missions to help the College's Lancaster neighbors.

A student-based organization that formed after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CRA deploys students, faculty and staff to help hard-hit regions with rebuilding and repairing homes affected by natural disasters or with housing in distress.

This year, CRA's 12 students and 11 professional staff and faculty worked March 14-19 to restore the intergenerational home of a local mother and her son who were displaced when the home was condemned two years ago.

Student volunteers learned innumerable skills in construction, electrical work and painting. Their goal is to make it possible for the family to return home, and by the end of the week, CRA painted nearly every room and hallway, installed flooring, shored up the balcony, and installed outlets, lighting, and smoke detectors.

Between their working hours at the house, the CRA team enjoyed potluck meals with support from the F&M community. They also experienced Lancaster restaurants and other activities.

"While CRA's annual trips have taken the organization throughout the United States, the coronavirus pandemic spurred a two-year hiatus from traveling," said Andy Gulati, associate librarian for the sciences and CRA adviser.

"However, CRA has remained locally active and organized a memorable spring break trip."

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