Between May 8 and May 17, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri (CCSOMO) participated in 12 Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) held across southern Missouri in response to the recent flooding. MARC locations included Neosho, Anderson, West Plains, Ellington, Eminence, Poplar Bluff, Van Buren, Alton, Gainesville and Doniphan.
“MARCs are one-stop shops for survivors,” says Shea Lane, CCSOMO Director of Disaster Preparedness and Response. “Numerous state and local agencies and non-profits were present to offer information and assistance. Our staff gave out gift cards to flood survivors who needed immediate help. We talked to people one-on-one to see what their current needs are and then going forward, if they need longer-term assistance such as home repairs.”
The survivors’ stories were similar, according to Judith Beaver, a Catholic Charities disaster case manager. “It’s been devastating,” says Beaver. “These families hardly know where to begin. Many lost nearly everything they owned and many are now homeless. A familiar statement I heard was ‘We stayed in a motel for 3 or 4 days, but we’re out of money, and we don’t know where to go.’”
Stephanie and Matthew Quick attended the MARC in Neosho. “The home we live in was completely destroyed,” said Stephanie. “We were able to save a few items of furniture and put them in a 10 by 10 storage space. That’s all that’s left from our three-bedroom home. Right now, we’re basically living out of our car, moving around anywhere we can find, staying with family and friends, sleeping on couches. We have a child with special needs and it’s really hard on him.”
During the MARCs, CCSOMO case managers met with 624 households representing 1725 individuals impacted by the floods, and provided $23,550.00 in gift cards to help with immediate needs. The number of survivors attending the MARCs represents only a portion of those affected.
According to Lane, the work of immediate response now transitions into recovery with outreach to more survivors and follow-up calls that lead to long-term disaster case management and repair of homes. “Catholic Charities is the primary disaster case manager for all of southern Missouri,” says Lane. “We’re the agency that helps through the full recovery process which can be more than a year for some, and we also work with volunteer groups to provide home repairs. We’ll be there for the long haul.”
If you have unmet flood-related needs, call 2-1-1. The 2-1-1 call center is tabulating the information necessary for a federal disaster declaration, and referring those impacted to the appropriate resources for help.
To support CCSOMO’s disaster relief efforts, visit ccsomo.org to donate by credit card, or mail your donation to CCSOMO Flood Relief, 424 E. Monastery St., Springfield, MO 65807.
Recovery work from flooding begins with debris removal, muck-outs and clean-up, and then moves into home repair. The work will continue for many months and even more than a year. Catholic Charities utilizes hundreds of volunteers every year in its disaster program and its home repair program. Skilled and unskilled volunteers are needed.
“This recovery work is absolutely going to depend on volunteers,” said Jill Bryant, CCSOMO Manager of Volunteer Services. “Very little gets done without them. Our construction managers and staff will provide training and supervision.”
If you have a volunteer group interested in helping with debris removal, muck-outs, or home repairs, please call Jill at (417) 720-4213. Your help is greatly appreciated!