Five semitruck loads of food and supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being distributed in eastern Kentucky following devastating floods. Latter-day Saint volunteers have also joined with local firefighters and members of the Kentucky National Guard to unload the trucks and begin the massive cleanup efforts following last week’s record rainfall.
At least 37 people died, many homes were destroyed, and some communities remain difficult to access.
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we mourn with those that have been impacted by the recent floods,” said Huntington West Virginia Stake President Jamie Wolfe. “We strive to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and keep his commandment to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39). With this in mind, we will work with those in the affected communities to do what we can to provide supplies and support to help in the recovery.”
The deliveries include more than 85,000 bottles of water, more than 3,600 5-gallon plastic buckets full of cleaning supplies, food for more than 10,500 meals and 600 pounds of clothing.
Keith Parsons, leader of a Church of Jesus Christ congregation in Martin, Kentucky, said, “This is a huge deal for the people here. The cleaning buckets have everything you need to clean out a house. With prior floods in the area, we’ve handed them out before, and people have been asking “Where are the buckets?”
With no damage to area Church properties, the Martin Ward building has been used to prepare meals for first responders to deliver, including hundreds of meals to firefighters and first responder volunteers. Meals have also been taken to displaced families staying at the lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Floyd County.
The Church is working with the Christian Appalachian Project to distribute the supplies and provide food, lodging, and assignments to assist with recovery efforts.
Nearly a dozen Latter-day Saint volunteers have been serving daily at the Floyd County Community Center in Martin, which has become a hub for relief efforts. Missionaries are also helping at the Community Center.
“It is really cool to see the community come together and serve everyone and see some smiling faces in a difficult time for everyone,” said Elder Dylan Rausch from Meridian, Idaho.
“It is pretty awesome we’ve got a chance to serve and help the community a little bit,” added Elder Joey Moore of Orem, Utah.