I know that Clubs throughout the District and beyond are ready to make a difference and help our members, friends, and neighbors impacted by last week’s flood. I am working with Points of Contacts in several areas in our district to help channel Rotary resources, energy, and expertise to those victims.
There is an immediate need for volunteer support throughout these areas and will be for some time.
Here’s what I’m asking you to do:
Go on the Volunteer West Virginia website (www.volunteerwv.org) and register as an individual and/or as a club. That registration is important and will help local volunteer coordinators find the time and talent needed to meet future needs. Everyone needs to register.
Here are needs and contacts for the various affected areas:
In Greenbrier County, spontaneous Volunteers that would like to be assigned a volunteer assignment should go to one of these Volunteer Reception Centers
- in Lewisburg at 204 North Jefferson
- in Rainelle at the old Magic Mart, 510 Park Center
- In White Sulphur Springs at The Old White Motors, 89 E. Main Street
The Greenbrier County main number is 304-808-1872. A Volunteer Reception Center matches volunteers with skills with voluntary agencies that need additional volunteers. Our contact in Greenbrier county is Cathy Rennard – 304-646-8895. She’s out of White Sulphur Springs and has contact information as to where and what is needed through Volunteer WV. For the most up-to-date official information for the Greenbrier County, go to Gchsemstaff on Facebook.
- Volunteer WV Coordinators for Kanawha County are at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church and are coordinating volunteer efforts in Clendenin and Elkview.
- Volunteer WV needs volunteers to answer calls at their administrative office located at 710 Central Ave. on Charleston’s West Side. People are needed in 4 hour shifts, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., & 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Flood victims are calling in to receive information and be directed to available resources and help. Training will be given. If interested, please call Sandy Campbell at: 304-543-6553
- There is a need for an organized person to work for about a week at Quincy Mall (near Riverside) to help volunteers link up with needs. Training will be provided. If interested, please call Anyssa at 304-807- 4016or Sandy Campbell at: 304-543-6553. If 2 people wanted to team up and split time, that could work. This is so important because it facilitates requests for help in an efficient manner.
- The Quincy Mall near Riverside High School has an immediate and ongoing need for people ages 18 and older who can lift up to 45 pounds for loading, unloading, sorting, etc. of donated supplies. Anytime that you can help between the hours of 8:00 – 6:00 is great. Just show up and you will be put to work.
- Contact person for work groups in the Webster County area is Brandon Moll (Webster work crew coordinator), He can be reached at 304-847-5427or if there is a problem with phone number then call his cell at 304-644-9282. Webster County update
Clay County response is being coordinated from Clay County High School. The principal, Melinda Isaacs, is heading up the effort. Her number is 304-552-1496. This is her personal cell.
From folks on the ground the following advice and guidance is provided:
- If it has been more than 5 years since your last Tetanus shot, and you are working in the flood waters, a booster dose is needed.
- Be patient. The coordinators listed above get swamped with calls and volunteers showing up to be assigned. If you call and don’t get an answer it’s OK to just show up (normal hours). You will be assigned work that will make a difference in victim’s lives.
- The work can be hot, sweaty, and dirty. Dress accordingly. Bring work gloves and rubber gloves. Shovels, brooms, and rakes are handy tools. Picture yourself in these damaged areas and use your imagination on what to bring with you.
- There aren’t many hotel rooms available in the affected areas. Plan on day trips, or camping out if you want to stay longer. Best to plan day trips until volunteer shelters are established.
- If you’re headed to Greenbrier County, the Greenbrier State Forest has cabins, full hook-up campsites, and a tent camping field available from 7/4/16 – 7/11/16. Cabin check-in is 4 pm, and check-out is 10 am. Call 304-536-1944ask for Jenny or Lisa. When booking, request the disaster relief rate. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are expected to fill quickly.
- There is lots of bottled water available at each location, but you should plan on bringing your own lunches/food. Local restaurant availability is good in some places, non-existent in others.
- Speaking of volunteer shelters, schools in Greenbrier County will open their doors to shelter volunteers in the very near future. As those shelters come on line that information will be passed along to you.
If you or your Club volunteer, please let my local reps know when you’re coming, what you’re doing, or what you did. In Greenbrier County that’s Dave Lumsden (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Martha Hilton (email@example.com) In Webster County, contact Walt Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) , and in Kanawha County, contact Dill Battle (email@example.com)
Also, the District has purchased a supply of “Rotarian at Work” t-shirts (sizes M-3XL) for those providing flood relief. To get shirts for your group, please contact one of the local reps above with quantities and sizes and we’ll get them to you. Please wear them proudly when volunteering, as we are Rotary Serving Humanity.
Special thanks to the District 7550 disaster relief team: Shari Messenger, Walt Hall, Dill Battle, Dave Lumsden and Terry Mathias for all of their hard work and dedication to this effort. PLEASE get out there and do what Rotarians do best – provide Service Above Self.
This is an evolving effort. As we get additional information, we will pass it along. There will be needs for volunteers for weeks to come. If you can’t get out and help this holiday weekend, then watch for updates and organize a group in the near future. Thank you all for your time, treasure, and talent. If you have questions or know of other opportunities/needs, please let me know.
Yours in Rotary Service,
DG John Powell