Register by Sept. 9 at www.umcsc.org/disasterrecovery
By Jessica Brodie
CHESTERFIELD—A year after a double-whammy of hurricanes swept through South Carolina, swamping rivers, dams and towns alike, the United Methodist connection is rallying for recovery.
In September 2018, Hurricane Florence barreled down on the coastal Carolinas, causing widespread and devastating flooding in different communities of the Pee Dee region from Cheraw to Georgetown as the deluge raced to the sea. On its heels came Hurricane Michael, sweeping up from the Gulf Coast and impacting South Carolina as a tropical storm Oct. 11.
The combination of the two storms was brutal for a large part of the state, particularly the counties of Dillon, Marion, Marlboro, Chesterfield, Darlington, Florence and Horry. United Methodists were quick to respond both in disaster response and, later, in disaster recovery. In January, the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church hired Tim Whitten as disaster recovery director to handle Hurricane Florence-related efforts.
Now, as the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Florence approaches, United Methodists across South Carolina are getting the chance to help people rebound even more through a conference-wide Disaster Recovery Day of Service set for Sept. 21.
As of press time, about 50 people had registered to help repair homes on the Day of Service, and numbers continue to climb.
“We expect that number to exceed 100 by Labor Day,” Whitten said, encouraging people to continue to register so his team can properly prepare for work crews. “With that many people participating, the plan is to work on 10 projects in the Chesterfield, Cheraw and Wallace communities. If registration continues to climb—and we hope it does!—then we are preparing to run teams out of Marion in addition to Chesterfield.”
Whitten said it’s important for volunteers to register so they can plan accordingly and have enough supplies to help the day be most effective for the people who need help the most—survivors of the storm.
All skill levels are welcome, from novice to advanced, aged 14 and older.
Volunteers will gather help with Sheetrock, flooring, finishing, cabinetry and other construction repairs.
Whitten said the Day of Service is an opportunity to show love for our neighbors, an example Jesus illustrated in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. People can register alone or form teams.
“We need all of the volunteers we can get. If you can’t come yourself, please help us spread the word in your church and community,” Whitten said.
Crews hosted by St. Paul UMC in Chesterfield will be working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day. Other sites are in development now.
Volunteers are asked to register by Sept. 9 so organizers can plan the work and other details appropriately. Anyone 18 or older must complete a background check prior to attending; details will be provided via email after registering.
To register, visit www.umcsc.org/disasterrecovery.