Grace answers call to help

PICKENS — On March 15, torrential rains fell during a three-hour period over Mud Fork Creek in Verdunville, W. Va., just outside of Logan.
Since the valley is narrow and the water has nowhere else to go, the creek rose quickly and flooded 150-200 homes. Many were a total loss, and more were damaged severely. More than 1,000 tons of debris were hauled off to a landfill by the National Guard. The roads are clear, but the clean-up has just begun for homeowners.
Pickens resident Joe Wolfe heard about the flood from friends back in his hometown of Logan and knew what they were experiencing. After contacting local authorities in Logan County, he initiated a drive to collect relief items for the residents of this devastated area.
Grace Methodist Church and Pickens Presbyterian Church members joined together in making more than 200 personal hygiene kits. Many Pickens community members dropped off money and donations to the church. Donations bought more than $500 of food, cleaning supplies, clothing, shoes and linens. 25 plastic tubs were provided, as well as money and Wal-Mart gift cards. This was all done in one week’s time.
The Verdunville Church of God was in the middle of the flood area, but no water entered their building. The church saw this as a sign from God and began serving meals to the community, rescue workers and National Guard. As of March 31, they had served 40,000 meals. Local restaurants helped in supplying food in addition to what the church furnished. Wolfe presented Pastor Mike Hartwell with a check for $681 from Grace to help with the cost of the meals.
The Church of God was also an official FEMA hot shower location. Their trailer is still being used in the parking area of the church.
The donated items were delivered to the Appalachian Dream Center in Holden, a community about one mile west of Verdunville. The Church of God runs this outreach center, which provides food, clothing, housewares, and medical care for indigent residents. Their supplies had been almost depleted when the Grace bus from Pickens arrived on Saturday with more donations.
The Grace bus was packed to capacity and left Pickens at 5 a.m. last Saturday. Pulling into the Dream Center at 11:45 a.m., there were smiling faces on the four men who came to unload donations. After leaving the center, the bus drove through the flood area to witness the damage in Verdunville. The items given will not solve their problems, but give them hope in knowing that a community 320 miles away cares and wants to share God’s love. As the recipients of Saturday’s donations said “Pickens will always have a special place in our hearts.”