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      Salvation Army holds barbeque for flood victims, volunteers in Onieda

      One thing the residents of the flood-affected areas have not had is any semblance of normalcy. Every day since the floods swept through their communities, taking with them homes, vehicles and memories, the people have had constant reminders of their plight. Most of them haven??t been able to enjoy a single summer moment without being reminded that their lives and homes are still damaged, two weeks after the initial flooding.

      The Salvation Army has been at the forefront of relief efforts since the disaster first happened, immediately bringing relief in the form of hot meals, health services, and a shoulder to cry on.

      Today, the Army took on another need that has been creeping up in the flood-worn areas: summer fun. Those of us who don??t live in the flooded areas only have what we??ve seen on TV to tell us how bad it was. For the people still barred from their homes, for those who still can??t make a home-cooked meal because of the damage to utility services, the Salvation Army has been a life-line of food and support. For us, a barbeque is a normal occurrence during the summer, but not for the flood victims.

      The Salvation Army wanted to inject some of that care-free summer fun into the community by having a free barbeque. Residents and volunteers were welcome to come out and have some hot chicken, a cold drink, and a laugh with other members of the community that have been right there with them.

      "We're inviting residents who have spent more than a week cleaning out and repairing the damage to their houses to take a break, share stories with their neighbors, laugh, cry and eat together," said Major Karla Clark, of The Salvation Army's Empire State Division Headquarters.

      "As the Army transitions from mass feeding and supplies to long term recovery support, we will continue to meet the needs of the Oneida community," she added.

      This was truly a showing by the Central New York community, as Syracuse Chef David Radzyminski volunteered to cook at the event. Other Central New York businesses donated to the event, including King's Catering in Canandaigua, Dinosaur BBQ and MaineSource Food and Party Warehouse.

      If you want to donate to the Salvation Army??s continued service efforts, visit their website. To give by check: Write a check payable to "The Salvation Army" and reference "NYS Flood Relief" in the memo. Mail to: The Salvation Army Empire State Division

      P.O. Box 148, Syracuse, NY 13206.

      To give by phone: Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and reference "NYS Flood Relief" when donating.