Local flood response organizers are reporting an urgent need for volunteers to help with flood cleanup efforts over the next 10 days.
According to Volunteer West Virginia Executive Director Heather Foster, more than 1,000 homeowners have reported needing cleanup and recovery assistance, primarily in Kanawha, Clay, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties.
“Immediately after the flood we had a huge number of people putting their hand up to help, which was so inspiring,” Foster said. “Now is a critical time to maintain that momentum.”
To volunteer, all individuals and groups are encouraged to simply report to the Volunteer Reception Center nearest them. Groups of 10 or more should call in advance so the center can prepare work assignments. If you registered online and haven’t received a call to volunteer, please report directly to the nearest reception center for an assignment.
A complete list of Volunteer Reception Centers is found at wvflood.com/volunteer
Foster said AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams arrived in West Virginia this week from neighboring states, and are waiting and prepared to process the large number of volunteers needed to help flooded communities, clean out and repair damaged buildings, and provide displaced residents with adequate shelter.
She said the next 7 to 10 days is a critical window for those communities, before those AmeriCorps teams finished their deployment and returned home.
“You know, the national media has gone home, the spotlight of public attention has started to fade, but the disaster of the situation for people in these communities is as real as ever,” Foster said. “We still have people without homes, people who have lost everything, people who need food and shelter.” “The need for volunteers to help these fellow West Virginians is immediate and urgent. If you can volunteer, please do. You are needed, you will be put to work, and you will make a difference.”
Clubs, work teams, sports teams, church groups and all forms of community groups are encouraged to volunteer together.
“Get a group of friends together, come as a family team, the more people you can bring the bigger the impact you will have,” Foster said.
Volunteers that can do moderate to heavy manual labor are particularly sought after.Special volunteer equipment needs include:
• Work boots
• Heavy duty gloves
• Tyvek (coverall) suits
• N100 particulate respirator masks
• Flathead shovels
• Long pants
• Bug spray
Volunteers who can bring all or any of these items are urged to do so.
For information about how to volunteer, visit wvflood.com/volunteer