A volunteer who could not stand by and watch those devastated by the Donegal floods is helping dozens of families to put their lives back together.

Hundreds of families across Inishowen have been left homeless or had their properties damaged during last Tuesday’s downpours.

Charity volunteers Susan Farren watched as these families were left, in many cases, with just the clothes on their backs.

Donegal County Council has stepped in and offered emergency accommodation to many of them.

However, Susan saw that many literally had nothing to turn these houses into homes.

So she set up a donation centre in the heart of Buncrana in the hope that locals and businesses would give a few small items to provide some basic comforts for the flood victims.

She was the only volunteer at The Depot when it opened for the first time last Thursday. Today, she has 20 volunteers working from 10am until 10pm answering calls and trying to help those who have found themselves in the fight of their lives.

To date, Susan and her team have helped to furnish the homes of 24 families as well as helping dozens of individuals whose damaged homes needed other goods.

Aaron and Jamie Donnelly donate toys to Marie McLaughlin at the warehouse for distribution to families. Picture: North West Newspix
Aaron and Jamie Donnelly donate toys to Marie McLaughlin at the warehouse for distribution to families. Picture: North West Newspix

She said the response from local people and individuals has been nothing short of amazing.

“I just couldn’t stand by and watch and do nothing,” she said. “I knew people needed a hand so I just set up The Depot. However, never in my wildest dreams did I think people would be so generous.

“The stuff is coming in so quickly but it is also going out very quickly. Our message is just to keep it coming.”

Only yesterday, Susan and her team were able to help a family fit out their new temporary home with beds, washing machines, pots and pans, a toaster, bed-sheets, toiletries, and cutlery.

“These people have been through so much that they are not even thinking straight when they come in here. They don’t even know what they actually need.

“So they come in here and we sit down in a private room and go through their needs with a cup of tea. We are trying to give them back a bit of dignity in all of this madness.

“Many of them have lost their homes and they have been given a house to replace it with. We are trying to give them what they need to make that house a home again for whatever period of time they need.”

Items have been donated from as far away as counties Cork and Kerry.

With the time of the year that it is it, Susan said there is now a demand for school-bags and new underwear.

League of Ireland Premier Division teams Derry City and Finn Harps have announced that they will play a friendly on Friday, September 8 in Derry’s temporary home of Maginn Park, Buncrana, to raise funds for the flood relief effort.


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