By Jessica Farrish
The Salvation Army in Beckley has helped thousands of people over the years, but now Capt. Robert Barber said he hopes others will come to the aid of the organization, which suffered a major loss of property and food items during last week’s flooding.
Barber said the basement of the facility, located at 312 S. Fayette St., was flooded with sewage on June 14 when waters rose due to a flash flood in the area.
“We thought it was pretty minor, that we could wet-vac and mop and it would be fine,” said Barber. “We got Service Master to give us a bid, and it turned out it wasn’t just plain water.
“We had sewage in it.”
Barber said the cost of removing drywall and cleaning mold is between $20,000 and $30,000. He said he was told that replacing the drywall could cost between $50,000 and $60,000.
The sewage leaked into the food pantry, ruining 3,500 pounds of food recently donated by Theatre West Virginia and 1,200 pounds donated by the United States Postal Service, along with “cases and cases” of food from the United States Department of Agriculture, Barber said.
In addition to food, the boxes clients use to transport food were also ruined, he added.
“A lot of stuff that won’t be covered because it’s donated — a fooseball table, ride-on toys and cribs in the nursery, several guitars and amplifiers we used in parades — they all got damaged,” he said. “The insurance won’t pay for it because they aren’t on an inventory as owned by the Salvation Army.”
A kitchenette was also gutted due to flood damage, four freezers, half-filled with meat, were ruined and a heating/ cooling unit was damaged.
Day camps operated for kids have been shut down for the past two days, he said.
Barber said he’s much more comfortable handing out cleanup kits and feeding flood victims, but he asked local people to pray for The Salvation Army team and to offer financial help.
“Financial support is going to be the big thing,” he said.
He asked for financial donations to the camp program in care of Camps for Kids.
Barber said he’d also appreciate help from any professional contractors in the area who would like to donate work and/or materials for repairs.
The Salvation Army is also in need of a working chest freezer.
Food items cannot be donated until the facility is prepared to receive them, he added, which is projected to be some time next week.
Volunteers are also needed to help clean and dispose of damaged items.
Financial donations may be sent to The Salvation Army, 312 S. Fayette St., Beckley, WV 25801. Volunteers and those wanting more information about offering financial assistance may contact Barber at 304-253-9541.
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