Flood Washington with Relief

Flood Washington With ReliefIt wasn’t until I sat down to beg you all for help that the severity of what’s going on in the flood zones really hit me and I started bawling. If you want to understand why, go watch this video from the Lewis County Chronicle website. I really need your help everybody.

I spent yesterday demolishing a single mother’s home in hopes of saving it. The main floor of her small house was filled with muddy contaminated water during this week’s record-breaking flood in western Washington. Apparently the water rose so fast that she and her 3 children were unable to get home and move their belongings from the main floor to safety.

Belongings piled up for cleaning.  She said her house looked like a giant blender.  The fridge was floating in the livingroom.4 days later while my 4 girlfriends and I were tearing the sheetrock and insulation from the walls of her home with hammers and shovels, she was still hauling her filthy belongings to temporary housing in garbage bags. A few of her children’s homemade Christmas decorations still clung to the higher walls.

Over 1600 homes were flooded in this disaster, the majority of which have no flood insurance. Businesses have been wiped out. As sad as it was to see Wal-Mart under water and Home Depot condemned, the hardest thing is to know that many small businesses may never recover. So even as their homes are destroyed, their livelihoods may be cut off as well, right at the busiest time of the year for many businesses.

Volunteers waiting for assigments.

One of my friends kept asking the disaster relief workers what the people would do now that their homes and belongings had been destroyed. Several families are walking away from homes and businesses with no idea what they will do next. The fact that Christmas is almost upon us is the least of their worries.

Cabinets continued to drip water, mud and sludge as we carried them from the house.  All her appliances large and small are ruined.It was incredibly humbling to drive past homes and farms that had been completely submerged, some blasted by 14 feet of filthy water. Farms that have been handed down for generations are destroyed, their owners left with nothing. Some had to shoot their own livestock so they wouldn’t suffer while drowning. There are cars and farming equipment still under water or stuck in mud and much of it is completely unusable. We saw toys, clothes and furniture several feet up in trees. People are in shock. More belongings to clean or toss.One elderly woman was found sitting alone in her mud-drenched home staring straight ahead, unable to move. It’s a daunting task and several hours of hard labor yield negligible results. It’s hard not to be discouraged by the slow pace of the progress.

One of the hardest hit areas is in Lewis county around Chehalis, a couple of hours south of where we live in the Seattle suburbs. My good friend grew up in Chehalis and her father is still a dentist and farmer in that area who, as Many houses will need to be stripped to the studs to get rid of the contaminants and smell.a volunteer LDS church leader, is helping head up relief efforts. Taking few breaks to eat or rest, he has spent the past several days driving from home to home assessing needs, helping with cleanup, distributing donations and organizing hundreds of volunteers.

Several local churches of various faiths have been turned into shelters and clothing and food distribution centers. People are coming from all over the US to serve and help with cleanup. The main non-denominational relief organizations serving the area are the United Way and the Red Cross and they are doing amazing work.

I am amazed at how generous people are to strangers.I sent out an email to the women of my congregation asking for clothing, food and tool donations and within hours, we had a garage full of supplies which Dan drove down early this morning on his way to help with cleanup. When I got home from Chehalis last night, I talked to my neighbors about what I’d seen and they came up with 3 boxes of helpful donations.

The river is on the OTHER side of the house.  This is what was left when the flood receded.Do you live nearby? Would you like to help with cleanup or reconstruction? Do you live far away? Would you like to help these people put their lives back together? Each year at Christmas we try to find someone in need who we can serve, something we should actually be doing all year long. This year the choice seems obvious for us. I can’t remember a time when I felt more blessed and more of an urge to give everything I can to help someone else. Even Laylee has gathered a mountain of clothes, toys and blankets in her room to take to the “flood people.”

How do you ever come back from this?

How do you ever come back from this?I’m gathering monetary donations which I will use to purchase gift cards to Home Depot and other local businesses with much-needed supplies. We will drive these cards down to Lewis County and, with the direction of local relief workers, give them to the flood victims to meet their immediate needs. Personally, I believe that people are capable of reaching out and helping each other directly.

Obviously I am not a registered charity so I do not have a Tax ID to give you a receipt for deductions. However, if you have $2 or $2000 that you’d like to go directly to people in dire need this Christmas, and you trust me to get it to them, I know that together we can do a lot of good. If you’re more comfortable going the traditional route, please consider making a donation through The Red Cross or The United Way.

My problems seem relatively small in comparison.If you’d like to help me give directly to victims, please click here to send money via PayPal.

All money that comes into my account for the rest of the year will go 100% to help rebuild the hardest hit areas of Washington. The people are cold, they’re wet and they need our help and prayers.

If you have a blog, please pass this information along to your readers. You can lift the graphic from the top and any photos from this post and post a link back to this entry. Email me if you have any questions and please help these people any way you can. Imagine what it would be like to lose everything all at once with little or no warning. THANK YOU!

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62 Responses to Flood Washington with Relief

  1. Cecilia says:

    We’re here in Idaho and wanting to head that way to help. We are a disaster construction co. (We have our UBL #602787757) and need to know where we are needed most! We have a huge waste/trash trailer, need to know if it’s needed and if so we would like to fill it up with donated goods or materials… So, with both trailers and a crew, we need to know about lodging in any area. If Home Depot is wiped out, how far will we need to travel for materials… etc. If anybody has a “go to person” please put them in contact with me. Cecilia >>> bbci@qwest.net

  2. Stephanie Curtis says:

    I have some furniture to donate to families in the flood zone. Do you know if there are people coordinating transports of donations to Chehalis. I have 2 dining tables, a matching couch and loveseat, 4 dining chairs, a coffee table, end table and a china hutch. Let me know if there are contacts for these types of donations.

    Kent, WA

  3. Pingback: Superpaige’s Pad » Perspective

  4. wanda dickson says:

    I have some furniture, TV, a good running truck, and a few other things that we would like to donate to flood victims. How can we do that? We live about 2 hours north of Chalis and would be happy to drive it all down. We will even try to get more things from our friends to help out.

  5. Gail Gross says:

    Lake Forest Park Presbyterian Church has a group of volunteers to help flood victims week of January 6th, 2008. Anyone in need?


  6. Lindsey says:

    Hello, I am a mother of a young girl. We have recently cleaned out her toy chest and I have a bunch of clean, hardly used dolls, and other toys that I would like to donate to the children of the flood. Could you please point me in the right direction. I live in Pierce County and do not know of any donation stations around here for the flood victims.

  7. Annie says:

    I have a Gulbransen Organ for free to any church in the Flood area who needs an organ.

  8. Karen Capps says:

    Hello, my sister and parents home was completely washed away along the Newaukum River during the recent flood. They also lost a lot of land including all the land the home sat upon. It was a beautiful two-story home with a deck and concrete patio. They lost everything.

    I am trying to find help for them in rebuilding. They no longer meet the requirements to rebuild on their current acearage due to building requirements but they are able to attain a remodel permit for an older building on the property that could be converted to a home. It too sustained flood damage.

    They need a designed floor plan and help with a complete rebuild. These five people (sister +2 children +parents) need assistance desperately.


    Karen Capps

  9. Are you still collecting money? I just now read this (and saw your email).

  10. mustangsaver@hotmail.com says:

    Maybe it’s too soon, however, I am aware that a lot of people lost their horsey pets. I have three that I’m willing to ‘donate’ to a ‘loving’ family, and or families. If you know of someone that ‘needs’ a new horsey ‘pet’ or two, or three, ‘LOL’ please let me know.

  11. Cindy Wilson says:

    I was flooded and people will be needing money for months. I just finished sheet rocking and put mud up all day today. There is no was we can fix up our homes for the amount of money we were given. It’s a given that this is going to be an ongoing project for months.

  12. Tessa says:

    Is there still a need for volunteers? I have a group interested in making a local mission in June and were hoping to do some clean-up from the floods if there is still a need. Please let me know. tessamk@gmail.com

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