A note from Elam Gingerich. Elam has been helping PCCR with the overall management of our Kentucky flood response.
I came to the flooded area a couple of days after the flood, helped scout the area and started to set up a base for us to operate out of. The devastation was mind boggling, and we immediately recognized that there is a huge need here for someone to fill. My wife, Orpha, and I have helped coordinate the ongoing work of cleanup, keeping the base operating and flowing, and meeting the needs of the volunteers with meals, beds etc.
There continues to be a big need for meals to feed volunteers and locals that are not able to cook for themselves. We usually give out between 400 and 700 meals a day, and people are so grateful for a simple hotdog or burger. We often hear comments like, “This is the best hotdog I’ve ever had!”
The small village of Buckhorn, KY, is a very close knit community, and for the last 75 years or more, a bell is rung each evening to call people to prayer. One evening I was in a meeting with a local woman that has assisted us greatly with the right connections and resources, and I saw the emotions roll over her face as she heard the bell ring for the first time since the flood.
I’ve walked with these people, have heard their stories, and have helped them make decisions on how to move forward with their lives. Their hearts are raw and real, and their stories are painful. They are common folk that need our encouragement and help as they piece their lives back together. It’s a time when a “God bless you” stops them and a “Thank you” is returned.
I’ve also been privileged to walk beside volunteers as their emotions well over while they try to cope with the reality of the people affected by the flood, and yet the volunteers keep giving of themselves.
Tonight we expect to leave to go back home to our own lives, and I find myself struggling. Before we came, I wasn’t sure I could possibly spare the time away from home; but now I’m not sure that my things even matter.
By far the greatest need I see is people, here, on the ground, giving their time. The work is dirty and not always fun, but we get to leave and go home. For the people here, this is their home. People are living in the homes which were flooded. You walk in and they’re sitting on couches that are saturated with water, surrounded by mud still covering the floors because they have nowhere else to go. Their situations are dire as many people didn’t even have insurance.