Salvation Army Hamburg distributed supplies, food, water and clothing to those in Hamburg affected by the recent flooding during a free event held at First Reformed Church, Hamburg, on Aug. 20.
“This was all put together to help the people of Hamburg who were affected by the flood on Aug. 13,” said Cathy Correll, office coordinator and case worker at the Salvation Army Hamburg Service Center.
“The families are very grateful because this has been a very stressful time for them. It’s also been a very financially trying time for a lot of them,” said Correll.
She said that many had to stay home from work to take care of their homes plus there is the expense of clean up and replacing appliances. Many do not have water and electric and have been eating out and bathing at the homes of friends or family.
“This helps them out with additional resources,” said Correll.
The community contributed to helping those affected by the flood. Correll said people lined up outside the Salvation Army Hamburg all day on Aug. 18 to donate.
“The donations themselves have been unbelievable,” she said. “It’s been impressive.”
Seeing the community come together to help those affected by the flood has been a humbling experience for Correll.
“I’ve been here for eight years. The people never cease to amaze me. It’s just fantastic,” she said.
In addition to donations from the local community, Berks International provided paper products, the Greater Berks Food Bank provided 5,000 pounds of food, and the Red Cross and Salvation Army provided disaster clean up kits. Also, the Salvation Army Hamburg Family Store is giving out free clothing to flood victims.
“We seem to have enough donations. The biggest thing we need are monetary donations to provide emergency financial assistance to help people at this time,” said Correll.
Volunteers are also needed “to put their boots on the ground” and help residents clean up from the flood.
“We need to let them know that people are thinking about them and are out there to help them,” said Correll.
In the first two hours of the free distribution event, more than 40 families came out seeking assistance.
Hamburg resident Mellisa McCoi came out with family members. They rent a basement apartment on Washington Street and everything was destroyed including appliances, clothing and personal items. About 30 properties on Washington Street experienced major flooding in basements with about 5 feet of water.
“I lost everything,” said McCoi. “Since we’re not in a flood zone, our insurance won’t cover it.”
What is helping her cope is staying positive.
“Just got to take it a day at a time,” she said.
They came to the distribution event seeking assistance. They were provided water, cleaning supplies, food and clothing, to name a few items.
McCoi appreciates the donations. “We really needed help,” said McCoi. “Just trying to get everything out of the house so we can start over.”
Heather Favinger of Shartlesville volunteered, passing out supplies and food at the Salvation Army Hamburg distribution event.
“All of these people need help,” said Favinger. “You wouldn’t believe how people are thankful. Or if they don’t need something, they tell you they don’t need it instead of just taking it. They’re very grateful.”
“It’s really something to see. I’ll say, ‘You want another bag of potatoes?’ and they’ll say, ‘No, somebody else will need it.’ It just goes to show you the heart of these people,” said volunteer Sandy Stitzer of Hamburg. “Even though some of them had 4 and 5 feet of water in their basement, they still want to save something for someone else. I thought that was really cool.”
Stitzer usually volunteers at Journey Café but lent a hand at the Salvation Army event when she heard there was a need for volunteers.
“They are truly thankful. It’s amazing to see the smiles on their faces. It’s like they cannot believe someone did something like this for them,” said Stitzer.
“It’s Hamburg,” added Favinger. “Hamburg is a great town.”