Flood recovery continues alongside hurricane relief

Call issued for S.C. volunteers

By Jessica Brodie

While much of the current disaster focus centers on Hurricane Matthew relief, many South Carolina families are still struggling because of a different storm: the October 2015 flood.

Thanks to flood recovery efforts by the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, more than 150 of these flood-devastated homes have been repaired, and another nine are nearly finished. Flood recovery work—done by teams both from South Carolina and across the nation—is expected to continue through at least 2018.

Ward Smith, conference recovery ministries director, said the latest work is “progressing well, but we need to do more.” He said it is absolutely critical that South Carolina volunteer teams step up to help.

“We will not be able to respond and recover without volunteer teams from South Carolina,” Smith said. “There are too many other needs in other states.”

Smith and other disaster leaders are calling on United Methodist churches in South Carolina to form teams and do their part to help.

“There are hundreds of homes still in need, and many are compounded by Hurricane Matthew,” Smith said, noting recovery crews are still working to assess the full extent of the latest damage.

With the holidays coming, needs are especially strong. Currently, Smith said, there are just two recovery teams lined up to work: a team of 12 volunteers and a team of one, both from out of state. More volunteers are sorely needed, Smith said.

One misconception is that teams must give an entire week of labor. Smith said while many teams do work Sunday-to-Saturday shifts, others compress their time into two-day work efforts, typically over a Friday and Saturday.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Smith said. “We have one to two years left in the recovery process, and it’s based on the volunteers and the donations received.”

To volunteer, email [email protected] or call 803-786-9486. To learn more, visit

Share your church’s story

Has your church sent a team of flood recovery volunteers? How did it impact your congregation? Share your story with the Advocate. Email [email protected] by Dec. 10.

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