'A real Godsend' – Christians offer free cleanup help for Windsor, Tecumseh and Lakeshore flood victims (October 5, 2016)

Written by Sharon Hill

Published by Windsor Star on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Four strangers from the Waterloo area have been hauling soggy carpet, furniture and drywall out of flooded basements in east Windsor for nothing and that Christian kindness is about to multiply across east Windsor, Tecumseh and Lakeshore.

“I’m not a religious man,” a 66-year-old Cora Greenwood Drive resident said Tuesday on day two of the free cleanup that landed on his hard-hit street.

“You know when people say ‘Oh it’s a real Godsend’ and all of that? That’s not the way I talk but it’s kind of the way you start to feel after a minute. Where did this come from?”

The homeowner, who didn’t want to give his name, doesn’t have the insurance to cover the loss of his furnace, hot water tank, the contents of his basement or the cleanup. He got help from his son to get the carpet out of the basement but was overwhelmed from the 10 inches of water that he couldn’t get pumped out completely until Sunday.

Learn how Samaritan's Purse is helping those affected by the flooding in Windsor

Monday he heard about volunteers with Christian Aid Ministries, a collection of Amish and Mennonite church groups with three rapid response teams in Canada. He was skeptical at first but then thankful for four volunteer workers. Some of them been travelling back and forth from the Waterloo area since Thursday to offer free labour.

“We’re here to help people,” Jesse Martin, the Christian Aid Ministries volunteer field co-ordinator from Elmira, Ont., said Tuesday. “Kind of our slogan is being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

The rapid response team out of the Waterloo area first got together in July 2010 and a week later they were in Goderich after a tornado. The team came to Riberdy Road in August after the Windsor tornado, Martin said. 

Those volunteers will now work with Samaritan’s Purse Canada which sent one of its three Disaster Relief Units to Lakeshore St. Andrew’s Church. Samaritan’s Purse, which is better known for its gift-filled shoebox program called Operation Christmas Child, is offering free help such as removing carpet and drywall, and mold remediation for flooded homes.

The Christian relief and development organization has the equipment including generators, pumps, and hand tools and is looking for local volunteers to train and send to homes.

People who need help cleaning up or who want to volunteer can call 1-866-628-6565.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, a sister organization of Samaritan’s Purse, has six specially trained chaplains to comfort and pray with disaster victims and they are available at the same toll-free number.

Elliott said Samaritan’s Purse could be here for the next three weeks depending on the need and can handle 60 to 80 volunteers a day. They were in Fort McMurray, Alta., for 12 weeks after the wildfires.

Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t charge the municipality or the homeowner for the work, said media relations manager Frank King.

“It’s just a great way to show people that hey, Christians care and they don’t want any money, they just want to care and help.”

Steve Elliott, the disaster response co-ordinator for central Canada, said the impact is widespread and some people haven’t been able to get wet carpet out of their basements yet. Neighbours who could have helped are busy cleaning up their own soggy basement. Samaritan’s Purse wants to focus on helping the elderly, singles, people who have spouses employed out of town, people with physical challenges and low income earners, Elliott said. 

Read more: http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/a-real-godsend-christians-offer-free-cleanup-help-for-windsor-tecumseh-and-lakeshore-flood-victims