Flood Cleanup Volunteers Needed In The River Valley

RIVER VALLEY (KFSM) — Several organizations in the River Valley are looking for volunteers to help with flood cleanup.

Efforts are underway in the Sunnymede neighborhood that was hit unexpectedly by historic flooding.

"Most of these houses were caught in the flood in such a quick fashion that they didn`t even get all their stuff out. We`ve been helping them get their stuff out and salvage what we can. The rest of it, putting in a trash pile," Scott Ward with Grand Avenue Baptist Church said.

Everything inside must go, from floorboards pulled up, sheet rock tore down, and insulation.

Mold got into the attic of some homes and even the ceilings can't be saved.

Next, houses will need a good power wash, then sprayed down with disinfectant. It will take three to four weeks to dry before homeowners can begin rebuilding.

"What we`re running into here is just that everyone was caught off guard by this flood here in this particular area, and so they didn`t get a lot of their stuff out. We`re having to get things out, refrigerators were still full and just some bad stuff," Ward said.

Volunteers with Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief are just one of the groups putting in a lot of hours under the hot summer sun to get things done.

"I decided to do it because my parents have shown me that if someone needs a hand you give it to them because it could be you the next day," said volunteer Kathia Salcedo.

A group of about six to nine people started working on the homes Friday. It took about four days to completely gut the house.

"This is our community and they`re hurting and in need. There are some people who are able to afford to bring in a company to do what we`re doing, but then there`s a lot of families that just can`t afford that right now," Ward said.

Church leaders are urging the community to come together and lend a helping hand.

There are several options for those wanting to volunteer.

The United Way of Fort Smith has opened a Volunteer Intake Center to help place volunteers where they are needed. The Center is located at Eastside Baptist Church, 2710 Massard Rd. Fort Smith. The center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. In order to place people where they are needed, volunteers will need to register online at unitedwayfortsmith.org.

If volunteers are affiliated with a church or organizational group that will be volunteering together, you will need to click the box next to “Group” in the “I am signing up as a(n)” section of the form. Then, include a volunteer group name in the section of the form that follows.

If your home or business is in Crawford, Franklin, LeFlore, Logan, Sebastian or Sequoyah counties and you need assistance in clean-up, inside or outside, please call 1-800-558-3370. The hotline will take your information and direct it to this volunteer intake center for response.

Volunteers are also needed for Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, which has been assigned two of the five flood zones: the Village Harbor area and the Sunnymede area.

Volunteers meet every day at 7 a.m. at Grand Avenue Baptist Church, room 119. Volunteers will need to fill out a medical release form, then they will be given a volunteer t-shirt and security badge.

The group is asking volunteers to wear long pants and waterproof boots. Everything else will be provided. They are asking for volunteers who can do things such as lift heavy objects, demolish cabinets and tear out sheet rock. If you have any questions, email SCOTT@GrandFamily.net.

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