Wednesday morning at the church started with dumpster-diving to find a kid’s lost clothes. Not a normal activity. Of course it was not a normal week because we were in the middle of the Flood of 2016. Our response as a church was to partner with the American Red Cross as a shelter.
As the flood waters crested we celebrated a flood of generosity. People donated clothes, provided rides, did laundry, made food, played with kids, and loved our community. The Red Cross provided volunteers from around the country. Our volunteers came from our own neighborhoods.
Richard spent the week living in our church building. He is a chef. He said, “On Friday, the water was coming. I needed a place. I made plans to come to the shelter.”
Richard moved in on Saturday. The Red Cross provided a cot and food. People donated pillows. When the buses stopped running, we provided a rides. Others spent time chatting with Richard to offer encouragement.
“I see the hand of God in this,” Richard explained, “The church responded as described in the Bible. When you did see a need, you did something about it.” He is deeply grateful that he had a place to go and people who cared. “Watching people come short-circuited me. Car, after car, after car arrived to make a donation.”
Because of the generosity, compassion, and love of our community, Richard’s experience at the shelter was very good. He was “pleased and impressed” in a situation generated by a natural disaster.
Cedar Hills continues to be the home to about 70-80 residents displaced by the Flood 2016 evacuations. Some families have had a chance to go home while others are just now leaving hotel rooms and just joining us today.