Flood victims in the City of Oneida escaped their troubles for a few hours on Saturday. City officials and local businesses teamed up for an event called Thank You 90 Days Later. There was food, live music and children's activities, but our Cara Thomas tells us it was the acts of kindness and generosity by a few local businesses that touched people's hearts.
ONEIDA, N.Y. -- For a few hours, the Carlson family was happy and smiling from ear to ear.
"Kids will do that to you, they'll make you forget everything really quickly. To be in the moment with your children, there is no price tag on that," said Cassy Carlson, an Oneida resident.
But for the last 90 days, happiness, smiles and laughter were rare. The devastating flood back in June damaged their home and many of their most precious things were destroyed.
Carlson said, "My basement and garage were full of their baby items. The outfits they came home from the hospital in, their baby toys, my son's crib, it was all lost."
After seeing the devastation and hearing people's stories, a few local photographers wanted to help the way they knew best. Oneida city officials and local businesses held a community event called Thank You 90 Days Later where free photo shoots for flood victims were offered.
Kate Richmond of Still Memories Photography said, "You can't replace a photo from 10 years ago and we know that. But we're trying to create new memories with them and help them have new pictures to hang on their walls."
While over on the other side of the park, Oneida residents were surprised with an overwhelming donation from Family Dollar. Two tractor trailer loads of food, cleaning supplies and clothing were given to anyone who needed it.
"We are so grateful. We didn't ask for this to happen and nobody asked them to do these things. They did it out of the kindness of their heart. Private families and private donations are what has kept this part of the city going," said Carlson.
When the event was over, many people returned to damaged homes without heat while others are still forced to live in motels. And while they're grateful for the generosity shown by local businesses, they say Saturday's event was unfortunately only a temporary break from reality.