LCH_300_icon_110512_SRWe are now into the third week after the flood and we still have people here at the church working each day to provide long term housing, supplies and food to those affected and in many cases devastated by the flood. Betsy Martin and Linette Gedon have been here each day making calls and coordinating support through DHHR, Red Cross and HUD for people who cannot navigate the bureaucracy. After the disaster, while government agencies looked on, we've housed over 18 families, 32 adults and 9 children, for these many days at the Red Roof Inn, we have provided food at the Mountaineer Restaurant and clothing and personal care items donated here at Mt. Pleasant. We are now down to around 6. While other agencies looked on, waited and and complied statistics, the churches in the area jumped in and made a difference! During this time, we've documented and processed over 81 cases of those affected by the flood, which comprises 123 adults and 58 children. Altogether, we've provided 165 nights of hotel housing for those displaced. I cannot tell you how many people have found new housing and new starts because of the effort of countless volunteers and donations. One more thing, as I write this, those working to coordinate furniture and housing, are on the phone at this very moment praying for those looking for a new apartment and inviting them to connect to a local faith community. They have not forgotten the spiritual component of this disaster and the ongoing health of those affected by it. So... be encouraged, there are good people here doing all the good they can! I want you to know that the Salvation Army came and provided hot lunches and dinners during the first week and for the American Baptist Men who were here to muck-out flooded homes and trailers and to do some minor repair. They left yesterday as the work transitions to renovation and repair. We are deeply appreciative of their efforts. The WV Annual Conference Disaster Coordinator, Sue Lowther, was on the phone promising flood buckets the first day and help us get up and running. Last Friday (7.24) there was a Community dinner at the Mineral Wells Elementary School to bring people together and share a meal together as a community. I am told a free-will offering raised approximately $2,500. We continue to receive contributions for the flood victims each day. I can only speak to what we've received and deposited here at Mt. Pleasant which I know is a little over $31,000 of which I know we've spent over $13,000 in hotel and food support. I suspect that number will rise as bills come in. I cannot speak more highly of our United Methodist Connection. We continue to receive donation from all over the Little Kanawha District and even from Sprucetown United Methodist Church in Central Pennsylvania. (I wonder where that came from??) We are now shifting our focus from emergency housing to home repair and restoration. There is still a need for some work crews who can do construction and renovation of homes, drywall repair, and insulation replacement for elderly and single adults. For many who are finding new places to live, there is a new need for furniture and bedding. MPC has acquired a storage shed in which we have (or had) over 40 twin mattresses to give away, many have already gone out. We continue to coordinate efforts to donation furniture with those who need them. We as a church are working on the logistics of matching the furniture and supplies with people we know who need them and how to get them delivered. On a personal note, I am processing the events of the past several weeks with both awe and wonder at the spiritual response of Christians across the spectrum. But I will not bore you with my ramblings now. I am profoundly grateful for all the ways people have stepped into the chaos and provided comfort, hope and assistance as Ambassadors of Christ. I hope this give you a glimpse of what was and what is happening here.
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