Samaritan's Purse and local volunteers step up for High River flood (July 23, 2013)

Written by Simon Arseneau

Published by The Meridian Booster on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In the wake of the severe floods that have forced more than 100,000 people out of their homes in southern Alberta this summer, volunteers mobilized to assist people whose homes have been damaged.

Thirty workers from the Southridge Community Church traveled to High River this Saturday, where they were coordinated by international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse to help devastated homeowners prepare for rebuild. Equipped with safety gear and the necessary tools, they mudded-out basements, tore out damaged insulation and drywall, and prepared homes for rebuild. They went into one of the hardest hit areas of the town and helped a tenant move his belongings out of a flooded basement starting at 8 a.m. By mid-day anything that was damaged by the flood was no longer in sight.

“The team worked hard, very hard, but we were there just for one day,” said Ken Hastings, Lloydminster local co-ordinator for Samaritan’s Purse. “The tenant lives there and he shared with the team afterwards that he couldn’t believe the difference they made, not just in the material that they moved but just in the support that they gave him and knowing that there’s a lot of big questions ahead for the residents of High River. But just for them to know that somebody cares enough about them, to be there in person makes a huge difference.”

In addition to High River, Samaritan’s Purse also has a unit at the Siksika Nation reserve east of Calgary. Speaking for the church, Hastings said at this point Southridge would be considering what involvement they can play in that initiative, but as an individual he said he plans on going back to High River.

Ken Fisher, lead pastor of Southridge Community Church, was also instrumental in organizing this weekend’s activity. He believes the trip was a success in that they managed to make a difference is someone’s life and was also very satisfied with the partnership with Samaritan’s Purse.

“Samaritan’s Purse is just a class act organization. It was my first time hands-on with them and I mean I would not hesitate to ever go back and work with them again. They were just fantastic right from info initially, right up into getting us on the ground and helping the people that needed it most so they did an awesome job,” he said.

Each damaged house costs an estimated $2,000 to rebuild, but with the help of donors across Canada and volunteers, Samaritan’s Purse is able to help at no charge to the homeowner.

Hastings encourages people to go to samaritanspurse.ca to learn how they can help as individuals or as a group. You can also call at 1-866-628-6565.

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