It’s a post-apocolyptic movie set…
It was put through a blender…
It looks like it was always messy…
It looks like no one could have survived.
Joplin still needs our help.
Most of us know that on May 22, a deadly tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, MO. On June 24, I was a part of a group of 25 from our church in Wichita who spent the day in Joplin helping with clean-up from this tornado. Lots and lots of people have gone to do this, so we’re not, of course, unusual.
We made contact with Ignite Church in Joplin, who have aimed their entire ministry toward tornado relief, coordinating projects with volunteers. We sent six groups to Joplin last week, each group leaving early in the morning and returning late at night, as it is nearly a four-hour drive between our cities and there are very few places in and around Joplin to house volunteers.
In many areas that were hit by the tornado, homes have been inspected and declared to be fit for residence or not. Those that have been condemned need to be torn down. There are thousands of homes in this state.
Houses need to be leveled and all the debris needs to be moved to the curb. Homeowners are responsible for this. Currently, FEMA is funding the removal of that debris from curbside. But there are two problems. First, homeowners don’t have the equipment to do this themselves, even if they had the time or emotional stamina to demo their own home. Second, FEMA’s funding ends Aug. 7, at which point the cost of demo and debris removal falls to the City of Joplin (learn more about this here).
Again, thousands of homes are in need of this kind of help. It is hard, messy, sometimes emotional work. When a group of volunteers arrives at the site of a home like this with crowbars, axes and chainsaws, this work gets done, but very slowly.
On the third day of our work group efforts, our friends at R-Quip donated one of their Bobcats for our groups to use for the rest of the week. (They also brought us LUNCH. Yay for our friends at R-Quip!) One of our volunteers also brought a tractor to use. The difference was unbelievable.
Here’s what’s needed in Joplin right now: able-bodied volunteers and large equipment to help demo homes so that rebuilding can begin.
If you are interested in helping, please contact Ignite Church. They are doing amazing things in their city. They also post video updates daily, telling stories of tornado survivors and emphasizing the help that is still needed. If you know someone who owns the kind of equipment that could be helpful, please pass this info on to them!