APPALACHIA (March 17, 2021) – Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) has stepped up to build hope and help individuals and families in need as they deal with the aftermath of historic floods that came on the heels of a damaging ice storm.
“Staff and volunteers partnered with the community to set up a warming shelter after the ice storm hit the area and were in the process of cleaning up debris when the floods happened,” said Robyn Renner, CAP’s director of Disaster Relief. “The community was trying to recover from the first storm, but we had to transition to address the impact of the floods. Our program has learned to be flexible in order to meet the needs of the community as they arise.”
In response to the ice storm, CAP’s Disaster Relief Program opened a warming shelter in Rockcastle County. Thirty people were housed in the warming shelter for four days and nights. The program has performed nine assessments and is working to complete tree and limb removal jobs in the area.
Since the flooding, CAP has completed nearly 200 home assessments and has had teams on the ground in the communities surrounding Floyd, Johnson, and Rockcastle Counties. Disaster Relief is operating two command centers to handle requests for flood assistance and working with local emergency management staffs to continue coordinating assessments and cleanups. A total of 100 employees, volunteers, and community members have worked 2,534 hours to help remove mud and flood waters from inside homes and remove wet flooring, drywall, and insulation in order to let everything dry out before black mold sets in.
Last week crews finished flood cleanup on 14 sites in Johnson County. They are also working to address at least 32 additional flood assistance requests in Floyd County. Work crews in Rockcastle County are expected to finish a total of 20 jobs this week: eight for tree and limb removal jobs from the ice storm and 12 for flood cleanup.
In addition to deploying relief assistance, CAP’s Operation Sharing Program is also working to get supplies to families who have been impacted by the floods. During the two weeks following the floods, Operation Sharing distributed 20 semi truckloads to families in Clay, Breathitt, Harlan, Perry, Owsley, Wolfe, Lawrence, and Magoffin Counties, as well as Wayne County, West Virginia. Additional supplies were sent to Johnson, Floyd, and Powell Counties, with plans to reach Lee, Estill, and Bath Counties this week.
“We will do whatever we can to help. These are our neighbors. We plan to stay committed to all affected counties as long as we are needed,” said Aaron Thoms, manager of CAP’s Operation Sharing warehouse in Paintsville. “We are working with local community leaders to ensure that essential flood relief supplies get to where they are needed most.”
In Breathitt County, CAP has been partnering with Nan Herald for more than 20 years to meet a variety of needs in the county including books, clothes, bottled water, medical supplies, and furniture. In Operation Sharing’s recent distributions to impacted counties, CAP has provided essential items such as nonperishable food, cleaning supplies, diapers, toiletries, trash bags, and personal protective equipment.
“It may have stopped raining, but we are still drowning. We were drowning before the floods came,” Herald said noting that she is choosing to see God’s hand of provision even on the darkest of days.
“We are all in this together. We need a lot of essentials like toilet paper and cleaning supplies, but what we need the most is hope,” Herald said. “If you are looking for stories of devastation, pain, loss, and homelessness, you will find that. But we have seen God’s divine intervention too. It is such a large area that has been impacted, and everyone needs help, but we also need hope to believe everything is going to be okay.”
For people in Johnson County that need flood assistance, call Jill Stafford at 606.872.3137.
For people in Rockcastle County that need flood assistance, call Vickie Gaffney at 606.392.4375.
For churches, groups, and community members interested in volunteering, contact Becky Neuenschwander at 606.872.0892.
For those interested in coordinating with Operation Sharing for essential supplies, contact the Corbin office at 606.523.5799 or the Paintsville office at 606.789.3148.
To help CAP meet these growing needs of families and individuals impacted by the recent flooding, visit www.christianapp.org/flood2021.