While our prayers are with the families and first responders impacted by Hurricane Florence, the town of Manhattan, Kansas experienced its own devastating flooding due to recent torrential rains in the region.
Heavy rains caused a creek to burst its banks and flood the Kansas town of Manhattan, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate their homes, including some who were ferried to dry land in boats.
Nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain fell from Sunday night into Monday over Labor Day weekend, causing extensive flooding to National Church Residences Garden Grove senior affordable housing community. All of the residents were evacuated and moved to higher ground as the water on the first floor rose as high as three feet, which resulted in significant loss of personal possessions. It is estimated that it will take weeks to fully restore power to the region – and it could be even longer before these residents can return to their homes.
The average age of the 62 residents at Garden Grove is 70, and all have modest resources. Most are frail and suffer from one or more chronic conditions. They do not have the means to easily replace all that was lost, and insurance will only cover so much. Our residents need your help.
We are asking you to help us “Restock the Fridge” for the residents of Garden Grove. Your donation will provide food and personal care items to these residents once they are able to return to the building.
This simple gesture to restore a basic human need to these residents certainly will ease their worries as they begin to rebuild their lives.
At National Church Residences, our mission is to provide high-quality care, services, and residential communities for all seniors. We are motivated by four core values, one of which is mission: “We are driven by a deep sense that our work should serve God and always produce good for others.” This is why Mission Day is so important to our organization.
Although Mission Day is an event, it is a daily attitude motivated by the culture of National Church Residences. Mission Day benefits the residents of National Church Residences by creating fundraising events and service opportunities. Residents, employees, local businesses and the community all participate in Mission Day, whether through attending events at National Church Residences properties or by serving the community through service projects.
From Detroit to Atlanta and from Columbus to Sacramento, Mission Day fundraising over the past 22 years has made life better for residents in National Church Residences communities – purchasing vans with wheelchair lifts to transport residents where they need to go, adding fitness equipment to keep seniors well, providing workshops and other programming for our residents and much more.
We want you to partner with us and support Mission Day. There are several ways to join us:
Participate in Mission Day activities at your local National Church Residences community
Contact the property manager at your local National Church Residences community and ask about their Mission Day activities. We currently have over 60 properties participating in Mission Day. Although festivities will vary by property, get out to enjoy a variety of fun activities such as games, contests, bake sales, giveaways and more.
Help supply a need for a community by donating to Mission Day
You can give directly to the Mission Day fundraising campaign. All contributions support the mission and produce good for the residents. Your gift will make a difference in a community by helping to provide activities and things that enhance their experience. Donate online, or you can mail your payment to National Church Residences Attn: Foundation, 2335 North Bank, Columbus Ohio 43220. Anything you donate helps our seniors remain happy and healthy.
Invite your friends, family, and colleagues to produce good for others by creating a fundraising campaign
Invite others to do good with you! When you are passionate about the mission like we are, you’ll want to share it with as many people as possible. Crowdfunding allows you to do just that. Creating a crowdfunding campaign enables your goodwill to multiply by your bringing your circle of family, friends, and colleagues into the mission. Set up your page here and spread it like wildfire!
Share the Mission Day campaign link through an email, text message, or on your social media
Maybe you’re not in a place where you can donate or visit a local community. You can still be a part of and support the mission! Share this post or the Mission Day campaign link with your friends, family, and colleagues in an email, a text or on your Facebook page. The more people who know about the mission, the more we have an opportunity to support the residents.
Mission Day is an integral part of what we do at National Church Residences. We couldn’t do everything we do without your support. Join us in our mission to keep seniors home for life. Become a part of Mission Day!
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
RICHWOOD, WV – “Don’t take the high road. That’s where they had a lot of the damage,” Kim Carpenter, the property manager at Edgewood Village, told me over the phone as my rented van rumbled slowly down Route 39. “Take the lower road. That’s Edgewood, where our building is. It’s a little bit clearer.”
It had been nearly a week since 10 inches of rain battered Richwood overnight, causing the Cherry River to overflow its banks and put much of the city under water, but the cleanup was still ongoing.
Earlier in the week, the staff at the National Church Residences home office in Columbus began gathering donated food, water and supplies to send to Richwood to aid the residents of Edgewood Village, a 34-unit low-income senior community that the organization has managed since 1991.
The outpouring of donations was nothing less than amazing.
In two days the central office staff pulled together enough supplies to completely pack a 9-foot UHaul van that I, along with my fiancée Kristen, would drive to the building on July 1.
Six hours after leaving Columbus – one road closure at the heavily-flooded community of Belva, and one delay due to road damage on Route 39 between Summersville and Richwood, later – we were nearing our destination.
Turning down Edgewood Avenue and heading toward the city, the views were contrasting: At first, neighbors working together to clean out a home, hauling waterlogged furniture out into the yard. Then, a house completely off its foundation, washed over the cliff that overlooks the river.
This wasn’t my first visit to Richwood.
My journalism career started in southern West Virginia in 2001 and I’d stumbled upon the Nicholas County city of about 2,000 when I’d been sent to do a story about the Cherry River Festival – a quaint street fair the city held each year.
Though I’d only been there less than a dozen times, I’d always had an affinity for Richwood. Walking down Main Street, you can feel Richwood’s history around you. It is easy to feel the bustle of the mountain boom town it once was in the 1930s.
But the closure of the sawmill, the clothespin factory (once the largest in the world) and the nearby coal mines drove its residents elsewhere looking for work. Richwood lost a quarter of its population in the 1950s, and then another 21 percent in the 1980s.
Richwood had struggled throughout its history, but the people who remained were proud of their city and worked hard to keep it alive.
When I began working for National Church Residences in the winter of 2014, I noticed that Edgewood Village was one of ours. I remembered seeing the building the last time I was in town. I wondered if I’d ever have a reason to pay it another visit. I had hoped I would. I never thought it would be on these terms.
As we pulled up out front of Edgewood Village, it was obvious that our residents were luckier than some others in Richwood. The flood waters had rolled downhill from the higher elevated north end of town toward Edgewood Village, which sits in the valley nearer to the Cherry River, and deposited inches of thick mud all around the building. Luckily, though, the floodwaters never entered Edgewood Village, instead passing just feet around the building and filling the small ravine behind it and completely destroying the Dairy Queen next door.
“We lost power when they had to shut down the sub-station down the road,” Kim Mills, the building’s maintenance technician told me. “But luckily, just last year we purchased a generator for the building.”
Kim let his residents know that Kristen and I had arrived and a small group of them met us at the front door of Edgewood Village to help unload the truck. At the same time, Tim Naylor, a friend and former co-worker of mine from Fayetteville, WV, arrived with his son Colton to volunteer their help.
Within an hour our truck was unloaded and the building’s community room was overflowing with supplies.
A few at a time, residents began to sort through the donated goods, modestly picking out only what they needed – leaving the rest for someone else who they probably felt was worse off than they were.
With a long trip home ahead of us, Kristen and I paused to take a few photos inside the building before walking the few blocks up into the center of town to get a first-hand look at the damage.
The journalist in me wanted to document the devastation to spread the word to a larger audience about what had happened. But I had no desire to be intrusive. I took photos only of the National Guardsmen working to clear the debris and the glaring signs of destruction left behind when the water receeded.
The Oakford, a small tavern on Oakford Avenue, the city’s largest north/south running street, had its door open. As I approached it a man stepped outside to tell me, “We’re closed indefinitely. But I think she’s open a few doors over.”
Just two people sat in Carolyn’s, a pool hall a few buildings north on Oakford Avenue.
“The flood started up on the hill and rolled down. All the houses up there, the water just went right through them,” the woman behind the bar said. “My house got it bad.”
Still, though, on that Friday afternoon, she was at work.
Kristen and I sat for just a brief conversation before we began the nearly 300 mile journey back home.
It took some time over the long weekend to let everything I’d seen soak in. It felt good to help. It felt good to have made the journey and done something – anything – that might have made a difference. It’s still hard to tell myself that anyone could do enough.
It’s hard to know that people are still digging out from the mess, still pulling their destroyed furniture and belongings into the street to be hauled away, still dealing with the feeling of helplessness that was dumped on them along with millions of gallons of water.
Today I received an e-mail from Kim Carpenter updating us all on the situation in Richwood and thanking those of us at the central office for our kindness.
“Richwood still looks like a war zone, with river rock lining the sidewalks and streets,” she said. “Cleanup will take months. The local Rite Aid has passed out flyers saying they will be rebuilding here in town. I have no heard anything about the Dollar General store, or whether the new grocery store will continue to rebuild. Most residents of Richwood did not have flood insurance, and those that did had limited coverage.”
She added that the donated items will greatly help the residents of Edgewood Village who now are without any local stores where they could buy everyday items.
In the last week, Edgewood Village has filled two vacancies with Richwood residents who lost everything in the flood.
One family, the Marlowes, had been in the same house for 60 years.
“The flood completely demolished their home,” Kim said. “They were in water up to their necks and climbed the stairs to their attic. I believe they may have been there for over 24 hours, perhaps even longer, before they were rescued.
“During their initial application process (to live at Edgewood Village), Mrs. Marlow’s only concern was that they lost their beautiful gardens.”
West Virginia still needs help. I encourage you to donate to the National Church Residences foundation, the Red Cross, the United Way or any of the countless charities set up to help.
“Thank you for continuing the Mission, as the City of Richwood desperately needs your hope, compassion and daily prayers,” Kim said. “God bless you all!”
WAVERLY, Ohio – It’s not unusual for Melanie Williams to get phone calls from individuals interested in making donations to her organization, Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). Especially in the months since the crisis in Syria has sent thousands of refugees leaving their homeland and looking to find asylum across Europe.
But when a large senior community contacted CRIS the way the residents at Bristol Village did, that was different.
“It’s very unique,” said Williams, the organization’s Resource Developer and Volunteer Manager. “Typically we get church congregations and different community groups occasionally wanting to chip in and help. But this is a pretty unique group.”
Williams said the Bristol Village residents contacted her at the CRIS office in Columbus and initially wanted to sponsor a refugee family. She, however, suggested a way the residents could help multiple families in need.
“I suggested they could donate Welcome Kit items. The household things that every new arrival gets,” she said. “Providing those for a family really off-sets the costs for them coming to the United States.”
The result of that has turned into the Bristol Village Appeal, a philanthropic drive set up by the Bristol Village residents to collect both monetary and goods donations to help refugees coming to Ohio.
“I provided some ideas and they’ve really run with it,” said Williams.
“We’ve all been watching what’s been happening to the refugees on TV,” said Diana Nasman, a Bristol Village resident and one of the organizers of the appeal. “Many folks here were familiar with the Church World Services and through them I was able to track down CRIS. I got on the phone and called a lot of people.”
Throughout October, the Bristol Village Appeal has been collecting donations of kitchen, bathroom and bedroom items in donation boxes in the Bristol Village Activity Center. There has also been a bank account set up through the FNB Bank location at Bristol Village.
“We’ve already gotten a lot of boxes,” said Nasman. “We’ve been getting a lot of donations from our residents here.
“We’ve also been reaching out to some of the area churches, but it’s Bristol Village that does the packing and transportation.”
The appeal runs through October 30 and is not only limited to residents of Bristol Village. Nasman said that anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the Bristol Village effort is welcome.
Once the donations have been gathered, they are passed on to CRIS, which uses them to help refugees that have come to Ohio.
“We provide certain core services to newly arriving refugees for their first 90 days in the US,” said Williams. “This includes finding them housing, providing necessary household items. We help them apply for Social Security, enroll in schools, apply for government benefits and enroll in employment readiness classes. The goal is self-sufficiency.”
To make a donation to the Bristol Village Appeal, contact Diana Nasman at (740) 947-4109, Evelyn Baker at (740) 947-9370 or Norma Dupire at (740) 912-9551.