If you want to come down and volunteer, we can help you make it happen! It’s been over 6 weeks since severe flooding hit a large part of West Virginia. We’ve been volunteering in Clendenin, Elkview, and Clay County, working with the Roush family, who are from Clendenin and who have been tirelessly organizing work crews and distributing cleanup supplies.
There’s been an amazing volunteer response, but volunteer interest is dropping as the flood has faded from the headlines. Both skilled and unskilled labor crews are very much still needed — particularly people who have experience installing drywall, replacing insulation, installing flooring, building footbridges, or inspecting buildings for other damage; and there’s plenty for unskilled folks to do too! This is not through FEMA or one of the big non-profits; this is a grassroots movement of people helping each other directly to rebuild their community. The destruction of the coal economy is already wreaking havoc in our region. Southern WV doesn’t need any more ghost towns!
If you’d like to plug in with a group of volunteers, get in touch. If you need a place to stay, we can offer our house- about 1 hour, 20 minutes from the disaster area- or we may be able to find you a closer housing option in Charleston. Call 304-854-2621 or email to get in touch with us. For questions regarding what work is needed, you can contact the Roush family at 304-545-3753.
Huge thanks to everyone who’s volunteered with us on flood relief already: Sean, Michelle, Ashley, John, Nat, JSav, Cathy, and maybe others we’re forgetting…
We’re thrilled to be partnering with Aurora Lights and Herbal Medics to set up a free herbal health clinic here in Whitesville. We will also be working with the Herbal Medics’ engineering team to set up multiple rainwater collection and filtration systems to support nearby communities without access to clean drinking water. We’ll be holding workshops and plant walks during the week as well. We’re hoping this week in mid-spetember will be the start to regular grassroots efforts to support public health in the Coal River Valley.
If you’d like to get involved, especially if you’re a WV-licensed acupuncturist or another alternative health practitioner, please drop us a line.
We look forward to seeing old friends and new faces at our annual Fall Summit, a weekend of camping, workshops, discussions, storytelling, music, and movement-building! This year it’ll be October 14 to 16, held at Stanley Heirs Park, atop Kayford Mountain. Look for more details soon on our website or RSVP to our FB event to get updates over there.
If you want to be involved as a planner or volunteer, let us know! If you’re a college student or recent graduate, and you can help us do outreach to folks at your school, definitely get in touch.
The easiest way to show your support for RAMPS projects is to sign up as a sustaining, monthly donor. This allows us to focus less on fundraising and grant-writing and more on the work we love. On top of regular operating expenses and our other projects, such as our prisoner-support hotline, we’ve been pouring resources into our flood relief efforts — we’ve spent hundreds of dollars on gasoline, tools, contractor bags, and other supplies — We could really use your support at this time.
Thank you so much for your past and present support. Encouraging words can be just as important as monetary donations—so say hi, tell us how you’re doing, and come visit sometime soon!
For the land and people,
Over two weeks after the floods that devastated parts of West Virginia, there is unfortunately still endless work to be done. Filling in the large gaps left by the official disaster response agencies, many communities and volunteer organizations are organizing to support those affected.
RAMPS has been especially impressed with the work of the Roush family, who have been coordinating volunteer work crews and sending them to communities along the Elk River since the beginning of this disaster. Here’s an interview we conducted with one member of the family at the work crew dispatch center and distro site they set up in the flood zone of Clendenin, WV.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Would you like to share your name and a bit of personal background? Where are you from? What’s the organization you work for?
My name is Pamela Roush and I am from Clendenin, WV. There is no name of our organization. My daugher-in law started it herself. We felt the need to start organizing volunteers to come out and help with flood relief because we have lived in Clendenin since 1971 and we love the people here. When I see them lose everything they have, I want to do anything I can to help them.
What are y’all doing here at the worker dispatch center?
My daughter-in-law, like I said, started this. We are set up at Bill’s used Cars. We have been getting different people to give us names of people we can help. As people come to help, we send them to work with those people. We have almost helped everyone on the list.
Is it mainly members of one family who are staffing this worker dispatch center?
It is actually my daughter-in-law, my daughter-in-law’s friend, and myself.
Could you tell us what Clendenin is like? What type of businesses are here?
We are a very small town. Not many people live here but it looks like a lot of the business here will be going under.
Would you be able to share what the needs are right now? A month from now? Two months from now?
The need right now is to work to get folks back into their homes. This means getting their homes and yards cleared of debris. There is a need for equipment that will haul debris off. There is also a need for providing food and shelter, anything like that.
Is there a need for more skilled workers in the coming months?
The community members need carpenters, people with electrical experience, and workers who know how to put sheet rock back up. The community affected by flooding is poor and does not have money to hire workers for these services.
Would you speak about FEMA and the role of other federal or state directed disaster organizations and their presence here in Clendenin?
In my experience, the Red Cross has stepped up. They have come in and met many of our needs. In addition, we’ve had Christian groups, people from all over the United States, even Senator Chris came and helped with the clean up and provided supplies. They’ve been working from daylight to dark.
However, FEMA, I have not seen hardly any help from them. For example,I was told that a family had a home on Jordan Creek that was worth $35,000. FEMA provided them about 330 dollars. Personally, I had rental property. I lost it, and FEMA is not going to help at all. These are people who have flood insurance, those without flood insurance are getting no help.
For more information on volunteering or other ways to support their efforts, contact Heather Roush at 304-546-7273 and for updates, check out the Elk River Flood Support & Information Facebook page.
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