WASHINGTON — The flooding in West Virginia has caused substantial damage, and that’s if the waters didn’t wipe homes right off their foundation.
“Homes that have feet of mud,” said Kelly Padgett, a pastor at Salem Fields Community Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Others are dealing with the loss of “family members that have been washed away in rushing water that’s still rushing. They have cars that have been washed away, flipped over, completely submerged in mud … up to six feet of mud in some areas. Complete and utter desolation. It’s really bad.”
The destruction caused by the massive flooding has called many groups to help. Salem Fields and members of the World Mission Society of Church of God — which has churches on Capitol Hill and in Burke, Virginia — are among churches helping impacted communities.
“We saw absolute devastation,” said John Power, who’s with World Mission Society Church of God. “There were houses and roadways and bridges covered with about a foot, foot-and-a-half of mud. People’s entire basements were covered in mud. And all the belongings, the furniture, everything was just completely soaked and devastated.
“There were a lot of houses that didn’t have anything but the foundations left.”
Help needed for massive cleanup
Power’s group had people in Clendenin, West Virginia, trying to help in the immediate aftermath.
“We saw people out there with shovels and with brooms trying to clean up some of this mess themselves,” said Power, “but it would have taken them weeks to try to figure it out and try to get it cleaned up.”
The churches are hoping you’ll help them in their efforts.
“We’re taking goods and supplies down there for them,” said Power. “Right now there’s a big need for child care stuff: diapers, formula, blankets.”
“We’re going to load up a couple of box trucks and head over there this weekend and drop it off,” he said, encouraging others to donate the items he mentioned, as well as water, disinfectant wipes and toys. You can drop those donations off at their churches on A Street Northeast on Capitol Hill or in Burke.
Ways to give, what to give
His group is also planning a Fourth of July party for locals there on Monday, “try to make it as normal [of] a Fourth of July as possible,” as he put it, with hot dogs, ice cream, and other summer barbecue staples.
Meanwhile, the folks at Salem Fields have an 18-wheeler they’re trying to stock up by Friday to take to folks in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
“That’s departing here on Friday at 3 p.m. and we want to fill it,” said Padgett.
“Things like bottles of water, cans of food, packs of cheese, peanut butter crackers, tooth brushes, tooth paste, cleaning items, shampoo, towels, razors, feminine hygiene products, flash lights,” are several of the items he rattled off.
“They’re asking that they be placed in a five-gallon bucket with a lid so they can actually keep them dry as they’re still calling for more storms and further flooding,” said Padgett.
“For $35 you are providing for a family to make it just few more days, while clean-up efforts are in place and relief efforts on a larger scale are in-bound.”
If you’re willing to drop off some, all, or even more than what they’re asking for, the truck is already there at 11120 Gordon Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“They can buy some, all, as much as they feel led to do,” said Padgett. “Drop it off at any time. The doors will be open on the truck from 9a.m to 9p.m, and if the doors are closed and they come after they can leave it under the truck and we will stock it as soon as we open the doors again.
“Anything that they can do to help, we are so thankful and looking forward to taking that to our friends.”
First responders are also reaching out. Earlier Wednesday the Wheaton Volunteer Fire Department donated an ambulance to first responders in Clay County, West Virginia.
This is just a partial list of what’s being done locally though.
Members of the Fairfax County police motor squad are collecting items, as well. Further information is posted at the police department’s official blog.
How to help
Items sought by Salem Fields, 11120 Gordon Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia
- Five-gallon bucket with lid
- Three bottles of water (or cases of water)
- Two cans of food with pop top lids
- A treat
- A pack of cheese or peanut butter crackers
- A sealed pack of utensils with napkin
- Two toothbrushes packaged
- A bar of soap packaged
- Bath towel
- 2 wash cloths
- A razor packaged
- Feminine products
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- One roll of toilet paper wrapped
- One roll paper towels
- Small container of disposable cleaners such as Clorox or Lysol
Items sought by World Mission Society Church of God, 700 A St. North, Washington D.C., and 5252 Lyngate Ct., Burke, Virginia
- Disinfectant wipes for furniture
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