Cobleskill warehouse offers one-stop "shopping" for flood victims

Donated children's shoes at the CARE for New York State warehouse in Cobleskill. Photo from CARE's Facebook page; reproduced by permission.

A decade ago, the Guilford Mills textile plant in Cobleskill hummed with the sound of workers making fabric and lace.

Now, it's bustling with another kind of activity: The county-owned building has been converted into a huge warehouse offering free supplies to flood victims. The warehouse, run by Community Area Resource Efforts (CARE) for New York State, stocks a vast array of donated goods, from daily needs like toothbrushes and shampoo to big-ticket items like ovens and sofas.

In recent weeks, the CARE warehouse has gotten a lot of media coverage. YNN produced a video report, in which Cobleskill resident Bettina Fonda says the warehouse has been a lifesaver:

Those affected by the floods say this resource has helped them rebuild.

"My house would still be in shambles," said Fonda. "I would not be able to make my house comfortable for my kids. My kids would not be sleeping in their warm comfortable beds, with warm comfortable blankets, or have the clothes on their back."

The Times-Journal reports that with the need far from over, the warehouse is going to stay in operation for a while longer -- thanks to coordinator Colleen Moore and her fellow volunteers, who have put in Herculean efforts to keep it running:

She plans to keep CARE as a long-term center, first for flood victims, then for families suffering from other disasters.

"A lot of people are far from being back in their homes," Ms. Moore said. "Some are just starting to muck out."

The Albany Times-Union ran a feature story on the warehouse this week. Reporter Paul Nelson finds a local family looking for one of the innumerable necessities of life not covered by FEMA reimbursement: A graduation dress.

Madonna Vanderkrake, 47 and her younger sister, Cindy Godfrey, both of Cherry Valley in Otsego County and their relatives trolled the aisles of the warehouse for any necessities that would help them get their lives back on track. Godfrey, 41, selected a tan-colored sun dress from a clothing rack as she searched for a graduation outfit for her daughter Jamie Vanderkrake. The mother finally settled on a navy blue floral print dress for the teen's graduation in June from Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School District in Otsego County.

The warehouse, at the old Guilford Mills plant at 104 N. Grand Street in Cobleskill, is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 3pm. No appointments necessary. For more information, call Colleen Moore at 518-231-6330, email [email protected], or see the group's Facebook page.

CARE for New York State is currently working on a list of needed items for local families. They are also seeking help in picking up some recently donated large items. See their Facebook page for more details.