ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- Local firefighters and university students will be working together on Monday, Sept. 11, to raise funds for victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

St. Bonaventure University, the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and the fire departments of Allegany, Bradford, Olean and Salamanca will be running a “boot drive” fundraiser at local intersections soliciting donations for hurricane victims. 

Boot drive sites are tentatively set for Salamanca, Olean, Allegany and Bradford, Pa. Firefighters and students will be manning the sites from 2 to 6 p.m. 

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St. Bonaventure last teamed up with local fire departments in 2005 to raise over $45,000 for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Six months later, 287 St. Bonaventure students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends traveled to the Gulf Coast for the biggest service trip in university history. 

Members of BonaResponds and SBU’s Enactus are already planning for a relief trip next spring. 

Dr. Jim Mahar, adviser to BonaResponds, has led more than 35 natural disaster relief trips. Within two days of Hurricane Sandy hitting in 2012, Mahar led a team of 70 volunteers to start relief efforts.

Dr. Todd Palmer, SBU’s Enactus adviser, said the boot drive is “our chance to show the hurricane victims that the Twin Tiers stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their hour of need.” 

Noting that Hurricane Irma has already caused misery and is headed toward Florida, Palmer added, “And it looks like we will be dealing with a load of hurt this time around.”

Olean Fire Department Lt. Tim Richardson said, “This is a chance for us all as a community to support people truly in need. Please slow down and make a difference.”