The following update was provided by Dick Reimbold, DSC Mideast Regional Disaster Representative.
Disaster Services Corporation - Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (DSC SVDP-USA), hosted a Parish Recovery Assistance Center at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Carlisle, Kentucky this past week.
In the Summer of 2021, the residents of Carlisle, experienced a record-breaking flooding event throughout their county. Per Governor Andy Beshear, the flooding impacted over 80 homes and at least 29 businesses as well as the city’s wastewater treatment plant, fire station, and city garage. The estimated damage to infrastructure, along with the cost of debris removal, totals more than $3.8 million.
One resident shared, “I have lived in Carlisle my entire life, for 45 years, and within 43 minutes the flood waters rose and caused me to lose everything in my home, my cars, my pictures, my keepsakes, and my memories.” Another family, a single mother with three children, not only lost her belongings, but her vehicle. Due to the lack of transportation, including public transportation, she lost her job and had to take a job at the local family dollar, which doesn’t cover her monthly expenses.
However, for DSC to be able to witness by our presence, not only to the survivors, but to volunteers who had no knowledge of the Society, and its works was a beautiful experience. Less than ten percent of churches in the Diocese of Lexington have a St. Vincent de Paul Conference. The pastor of the church had no knowledge of the Society; but again, being able to witness by our presence, ignited him and several parishioners to start the groundwork to open a Conference and join the Vincentian family.
The other fruits the trip bore were being able to meet and collaborate with Jim Garrett, the volunteer and donations manager with the state of Kentucky VOAD, Meg Campos, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Lexington, a representative from HOPE, Animals Assisted Crisis Response, and Rhonda Curran Koft from the Carlisle Chamber of commerce and leader of the long-term recovery group.
We were able to assist and provide intake for over 20 plus families, conduct several Home Visits, and meet with the local Judge, who is the executive of the county, Steve Hamilton, to coordinate partners to help with remediating homes, demolition, and other manual type of assistance.
Lastly, one of the residents shared one of the most pressing issues for the residents of Carlisle, not just the loss of homes for the survivors whose homes were flooded, but the loss of their local grocery store. The residents have to drive about 30 minutes away to buy groceries and that is problematic for some of the 2,000 residents of Carlisle.