Sullivan County

Ministry group seeks flood victims to help

Volunteers continue flood cleanup

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - A ministry group is sending a message to local flood victims: they're here to help.

The Samaritan's Purse Disaster Team is armed with supplies and ready to lend a hand to those who are still cleaning up.

A crew of volunteers wasted no time decontaminating Margaret Schafer's Colonial Heights flood-ravaged basement. "I could just hear the water running downstairs, and I thought I'd left a spigot on or something," said Schafer

It's an entirely different scene from last week. "I had worked on it for a week, and I had barely made a dent on it. I worked for an hour, but then I had to stop for three hours because I just don't have the strength," Schafer told News 5.

This is the kind of story the Billy Graham Rapid Response and Samaritan's Purse disaster teams fear is all too common. "We're finding that a lot of homeowners are saying, 'There are people that need more help than us. Go help them,'" said Toni New, a chaplain coordinator with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.

That's why the groups have set up a temporary headquarters to recruit volunteers every day for up to the next two weeks in hopes of helping every flood-soaked home they can. "It doesn't matter whether it's the 10 percent amount that you were flooded, or if you were 75 percent flooded. We're here to help you," New said.

We found out the teams are entirely self-sufficient. They bring everything they need with them in a tractor-trailer, including chainsaws, shovels, food, showers, and laundry machines.

The operation is seamless for veteran volunteer Brenda Evans, who didn't think twice about donning a chemical suit and mask just so she could help a fellow neighbor. "The Lord asks us to be his hands and feet when people are in need, and this is my community. They are in need, and this is a great way to give back to our community," Evans said.

That 'giving back' makes a world of difference to Margaret Shaffer, as she no longer has to go at it alone. "I am so grateful, and it's really heaven-sent. God really does answer prayers," said Schafer.

The ministry group is stationed outside of Power Point Ministries, located at 457 Lenoir Road in Bloomingdale.

If you need any help with flood cleanup, you're also encouraged to come by their site, and they'll send a crew out to assess your needs and help you recover.

If you'd like to volunteer, officials said you can simply show up at their headquarters for a brief orientation at 7:30 in the morning or 12:30 in the afternoon.

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