Commentary: Update on flood relief in Appalachian District

Commentary: Update on flood relief in Appalachian District

Coeburn Fire Department Chief Cliff Hawkins picks up "cleaning buckets" donated by churches to help flood survivors.

Rev. Beth Tipton, Appalachian District disaster response coordinator, responds with gratitude to the relief supplies sent by Holston Conference, following flooding in Southwest Virginia beginning Feb. 11. See related story.

WISE, Va. (Feb. 16, 2018) -- Thank you, Holston Conference for the UMCOR “cleaning kits” you prepared and sent! They have been, and continue to be, distributed to people who need them most.

Regarding the Virginia portion of the Appalachian District: Most of the damage has occurred to private bridges and roadways. There is also some basement damage reported. Homeowners have had damage such as flooded wells and furnaces. At least two churches (not United Methodist) have had damage. Local volunteers are helping with debris clean up and housing issues on a case-by-case basis.

What can you do?

United Methodists, you can replenish the “cleaning buckets” by making one and taking it to your district office.

To all: If you have the means and time to volunteer to help restore or repair private roads and bridges, contact me at

If you are eager to send a team to help with flood damage to homes, there is still a great deal to do in West Virginia, Texas, Florida, and other places. I can help you contact someone about sending teams to the places where help is still needed for rebuilding.

Friends, your compassion and care are appreciated. Your actions to love your neighbors in times of disaster have not gone unnoticed.

Please remember that often our immediate neighbors are going through disasters we know nothing about. I urge you to show the same care and compassion for your local neighbors that you would for those impacted by natural disasters. What needs do you see around you? It is not "what ought to be done" but "what can I do today?” That is the question that must be answered. Sometimes we need to do something beyond saying something.

The Rev. Tipton is Appalachian District disaster relief coordinator. She also serves as director of the Wesley Foundation at University of Virginia at Wise. Contact her at


See also:
Instructions for Cleaning Kits (UMCOR)
'Cleaning buckets' delivered to flooded SW Virginia (The Call, 2.14.18)