Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Weeks of Flood Relief Efforts

It's been about three weeks since I posted last.  I mentioned that we were working on gathering supplies to serve "some meals" from the church.  When I wrote that, I had no idea that we'd be serving two weeks of hot dinners and a brunch, totaling over 1000 meals.  

I also talked about getting potable water out to folks who didn't have drinking water.  I had ideas about distributing water through drink coolers since bottled water was a scarcity.  A week after the flood, I was connected with a county official who had us pallets of drinking water within three hours of a phone conversation.  I don't dance well, but I did a happy dance and thanked God for the contact.  I started calling him Santa Claus in conversation around the church, because he would come through with amazing resources that our community needed.  Basic things, but essential.

I had no idea I'd be coordinating cleaning supplies as well.  But I did. Scrambling for bleach, gloves, brooms and whatever else we could get our hands on.  I think I may have walked into a room full of people and cheered when I got a call from a counterpart at another relief site who said he had 300 face masks for our location.  (The face masks are very important for folks who are having to spray bleach on areas that have been saturated with flood water.  I spoke with folks who didn't have them when they were cleaning up from the 2006 flood and still had health repercussions.)

"How'd you get in charge of all this?" one of the high school students from church asked me as we were getting ready to serve dinner one night and a number of folks were milling around gathering up supplies.  "I have no idea!  It just evolved." was my response.  

The last three weeks have been filled with an amazing array of emotions and a level of exhaustion that I haven't experienced in a very long time.  Many hands made miracles happen.  

Relief efforts continue as we are still distributing supplies but the frenzy has died down.  The last couple of days I have been embracing my "normal" routines as we settle back in to fall.  

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