ST. LOUIS – A volunteer disaster relief organization in Bridgeton help flood victims clean up their homes after July’s flash flooding.
Incident Commander Jerry Palmer with Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief said the flood had damaged a lot of homes.
“We’ve had a lot of homes that have been inundated with water with the flooding,” said Palmer. “It’s just absolutely devastating this whole area.”
At Fee Fee Baptist Church, the volunteers were working as cooks, laundry workers, and other clerical duties. Some volunteers drive out to meet families in need of aid to see what the relief team can do for them. Others had traveled out to help clean the inside of flood-damaged homes, especially along Hermitage Avenue in south St. Louis.
They had used hammers, multi-tools, crowbars, etc to pry away the drywall, nails, and debris from the walls. Palmer said the team sprayed “Shockwave” on the exposed area of the wall after stripping it down to one layer.
“Shockwave is a mildew and mud remover and it also protects against that,” said Palmer. “It’s not toxic like bleach, so it’s a really good cleaner.”
Tom Keith who is a volunteer said he leads teams into flood-damaged homes.
“There’s just no easy way to get in it. The people that are there are devastated. It’s a little hard emotionally,” Keith. “It’s really hard work-wise.”
Keith said the humidity makes the cleanup difficult.
“Humidity is about as bad as anything. If it’s dry and the humidity is low you can get in the shade and cool off, but when the humidity is high… shade or not it doesn’t make any difference,” said Keith.
Even with the difficulty in the work, Keith said he has the time to help someone.
“It’s kind of interesting to do, we’ve got the time. We’re retired, most of us. We got time and the ability to help somebody,” said Keith. “We just feel like that’s the thing we ought to do with our time.”
“I love Jesus, and I know people need to know the hope that is in Jesus,” said Palmer. ” That’s the only reason I do it. There’s really not much glory in it, but there is a powerful amount of love you can show the people.”
Palmer said the issue going forth is finding more volunteers because other volunteer agencies are struggling to find help too. He said they’re scheduling work three weeks out, but he said they might run out of volunteers.
“We talk about three things. We talk about prayer, we talk about giving through the Missouri Baptist Convention, and we talk about going,” said Palmer. “That is going out and actually working. Anybody can do the work. We have all ages.”
If you want to help the Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief seek out your local Southern Baptist Church or go to mobaptist.org/DR.