PARKERSBURG – A series of heavy rain storms crossed central and southern West Virginia on Thursday and Friday (June 23-24, 2016) causing catastrophic flooding and damage. Cities were inundated with fast moving water that quickly cut off entire communities. Rapidly rising waters trapped hundreds in cars and homes with 25 confirmed deaths and many still missing.
It is still to be determined the number of West Virginia Baptist Convention churches that were damaged, but several have confirmed major damage and the fear is some are completely destroyed. The West Virginia Baptist American Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Team has been deployed by VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) to Rainelle, where they will be headquartered at Rainelle First Baptist Church.
Donations of food, water, cleaning supplies, diapers, paper goods and even pet food have been collected by many churches and taken to central distribution stations to help the people in need.
Cities that were under water included: Richwood, Clay, Clendenin, Rainelle and White Sulfur Springs. Other areas that had major water damage are: Webster Springs, Cowen, Alderson, Charmco, Quinwood, Rupert, Frame, Elkview, Big Chimney and Duck.
Many churches in the region have began to collect and transport to aid stations significant amounts of supplies to aid in the cleanup efforts. Hundreds of volunteers have joined to help those in need.
The following locations are known to be collection and distribution stations:
- Big Clear Creek Baptist Church, Rupert
- Summersville Baptist Church, Summersville (also serving as a shelter and volunteer housing place)
- Shuck Memorial Baptist Church, Lewisburg (hosting volunteers also)
- Rainelle Baptist Church, Rainelle
- Smith Grocery, Clendenin
There are many places across the state where items can be taken to be transported to these aid stations. Vienna Baptist Church, Clarksburg Baptist Church, Ravenswood Baptist Church, Sutton Baptist Church and many more places are receiving donations for the flood relief efforts. If you need help in finding a drop site, call the Convention office.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) has released $10,000 to the Convention to aid in the relief efforts. These funds will be available to aid the efforts of the Convention as we coordinate the recovery and rebuilding of our communities.
Camp Cowen had significant water damage from high water. The river backed up into the maintenance shed, Steve’s house, Covered Campfire, Hylbert Hall, the Crouch House and the Crouch Retreat center below the dining hall. Camp is still operational and clean up is underway.
How to help:
- PRAY — for those impacted by the floods – especially those who are grieving the loss of a loved one
- Volunteer – we have lots of things you can do if you want to get your hands dirty
- GIVE — you can collect cleaning supplies and food and take to one of the many collection sites
- You can give through “OGHS –WV Flood”
- You can give online at: www.wvbc.org (On the left under “Register for an Event or Donate.)
- You can mail your donations directly to: WVBC, PO Box 1019, Parkersburg, WV 26102 (FLOOD)
Thank you for your generosity and prayers as we work together to help those in need in the name of Jesus.