When Sarah-Jane Bell of Belle River, P.E.I., saw a call for volunteers to help clean up in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, she jumped at it.
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Bell, 44, a financial advisor, fitness instructor and volunteer firefighter, is headed to Pearland, Texas, a city of about 90,000 people just outside Houston, where the hurricane wreaked havoc seven weeks ago.
"I thought, that'd be kind of neat, so I signed up," said Bell, who is leaving Nov. 5. "I can't wait."
The relief effort is co-ordinated by Samaritan's Purse Disaster Response, a Christian non-profit organization which has units working from five bases in Texas, according to its Facebook page.
She'll be doing debris removal, roof tarping and "mud-outs" — removing mud from homes.
"I'm excited," Bell said. "There's going to be some challenges, I'm not saying it's going to be easy."
"I'm always up for a challenge," she added. "Whenever I get a call, I usually answer."
'Making a difference'
Harvey brought record flooding in Texas, damaging at least 140,000 homes and killed a reported 82 people.
Bell is financing the $1,000 trip out of her own pocket. It includes her flight, meals and accommodations in a church.
The organization is also encouraging volunteers to fundraise an additional $1,000 for its cleanup efforts. Bell has a fundraising page on Samaritan's Purse, which has already been supported by the Belfast Fire Department and Lions Club, Bell said.
Bell travelled to Guatemala for church mission work for 10 days in February and "really enjoyed" it, especially the physical exertion.
"You know you're making a difference, so that's important," Bell said.
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