Pacific Northwest, USA - When flood waters rose to catastrophic levels in the Pacific Northwest in early December, many families lost everything—their homes, businesses and possessions. Engorged rivers and streams overflowed into the streets and eventually made their way up through the floorboards, coating everything with a thick layer of mud.
Medical Teams International responded with funds and volunteers. The needs were immense and clean-up efforts seemingly insurmountable.
“There was mud everywhere,” says Vuthy Roeun, a staff member with Medical Teams International who led a volunteer team to Curtis, Wash. “I couldn’t put my foot down without stepping in at least three inches of mud. The water level hit more than six feet high. The couple we helped lost everything in their general store and home.”
But having volunteers there eased the pain and made the task more manageable. Five volunteers spent a day shoveling mud out of the Curtis General Store, emptying the shelves of spoiled food.
“I don’t know who you are,” said store owner. “I don’t know your names and I will probably never see you again, but I want to say thank you so much for your help.”
One three-person team helped a 78-year-old man remove sludge from his home, discard appliances, pull up carpets and carry his mud-soaked furniture to the front lawn. Much of the work he could not have done himself.
Fifty-one volunteers on seven teams spent time assisting with the clean-up efforts in Mist, Tillamook and Sheridan, Ore., as well as Chehalis and Curtis, Wash.
Donations provide small grants to families
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, Medical Teams International also provided small financial grants to families just before Christmas. Though government relief assistance would come several weeks later, many families were struggling to make ends meet in the meantime.
“The small grants from Medical Teams International are just what these families needed,” said one pastor in Centralia. The money helped pay bills, purchase furniture, kitchen supplies and other basic necessities.
“Thank you so much for enabling us to be a blessing to these families,” says Bill Knepper, pastor and current president of the Chehalis/Centralia Ministerial Association (CCMA). “I can honestly report that every dime delivered will be used to meet real needs and has been given in a way that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.”