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October 3, 2012

With flood damage repaired, CARE brings services back to Fraser site

By Nico Rubello
C & G Staff Writer

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With flood damage repaired, CARE brings services back to Fraser site
CARE of Southeastern Michigan’s room for supervised visitations between parents and children got a makeover, as did the rest of the Fraser agency’s basement after a Nov. 29, 2011, flood.

FRASER — CARE of Southeastern Michigan recently marked the completion of a restoration project after months of having to do without an entire level of its Fraser facility.

The basement level — which houses much-needed space for training sessions, meetings, a staff lounge, child visitations and storage — was put out of commission last November after a sewage overflow left the basement flooded.

The basement toilets overflowed 18 inches of water and sewage, contaminating and destroying well over an industrial-sized Dumpster’s worth of items beyond saving. The total damage to the facility and loss of furniture and equipment totaled about $200,000.

As a result, the basement level was unusable for months. Upstairs offices and hallways became makeshift meeting rooms and storage space.

“All of our offices were overwhelmed with all of this stuff,” said CARE fund development manager Meghan Kindsvater as she stepped through some the office’s newly restored storage rooms, which were filled with everything from electronic equipment to arts and crafts for children. “It’s nice to have it all organized down here too, rather than just shoved in corners.”

Established in 1977, CARE provides aid services for families affected by substance use disorders, as well as offers programs addressing poverty and home stability, parenting, the dangers of alcohol and drug use, and prisoner reentry into society.

After the flood, many programs that were conducted at the agency’s main conference room or visitation rooms had to be shipped off-site. CARE can be found at Utica and Masonic.

Insurance reimbursed about $30,000, and donors kicked in about $18,000. A plaque that now hangs in the basement recognizes those contributions.

Others donated equipment, including a refrigerator, desks, chairs, TVs and computer monitors, to replace those that had been lost.

“So many people donated stuff, so there was a lot of stuff we didn’t have to replace,” Kindsvater said. “We had some really great supporters who came through.

Most of the restoration effort, however, was paid for out of CARE’s savings, though the agency still hasn’t replaced all of its losses.

In fact, since so much of CARE’s items in storage were lost in the flood, the agency was able to turn some of its storage space into new office space, said CARE CEO Monique Stanton.

“We didn’t need as much as storage space as we needed prior to the flood,” she said.

Now, with the restoration’s completion, CARE’s 75 employees can once again return to the basement.

The agency formally celebrated the reopening of the level with an open house on Sept. 26. State Rep. Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser, and Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Kathy Vosburg were in attendance.

“We’re able to do things back at our agency, rather than in different locations,” Stanton said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nico Rubello at nrubello@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.