By TARA CONNOLLY Staff writer
After devastating rains began to soak an already soggy Schuylkill County – that was reeling from flooding in July – many homes and businesses were under water after several inches of rain hammered the area Aug. 10 through Aug. 13.
When all was said and done and the storms retreated, Catholic Charities (CC), Diocese of Allentown responded to people of all faiths residing in the hardest hit areas like Port Carbon, Pottsville and Tremont.
Rob Nicolella, supervisor CC Schuylkill-Carbon County, said case managers initiated an immediate response by contacting local government officials in Schuylkill County to offer assistance and relief.
“Our case manager met individually with 19 families consisting of 80 individuals in the Tremont and Port Carbon area that were affected by the flooding. In meeting with the families case managers are there to listen to their stories and find out their immediate needs and how Catholic Charities could help them meet the needs,” said Nicolella.
Case managers quickly learned that hundreds of people suffered first floor flooding after creeks overflowed their banks, damaging furniture, appliances, clothing and personal items and leaving behind mud, water damage and mold.
In total, CC distributed $2,000 in gift cards to 20 families to purchase clothing and other necessary items lost in the flooding. In addition, CC provided three families with $200 gifts cards each to area supermarkets to assist with food and cleaning products to help clean their homes that were left damaged by mud and mold.
“Catholic Charities also ordered, purchased and delivered food and cleaning supplies to a couple with disabilities, who had no transportation to obtain supplies in Tremont,” said Nicolella.
In Port Carbon, Nicolella said, case managers reached out to the borough to purchase needed supplies that included 32 bottles of peroxide, 63 bottles of mold and mildew cleaner, six gallons of bleach, and rubber gloves,” he said.
The organization was also able to purchase a new water heater for an elderly couple, who lost their unit in Port Carbon.
While most residents were lucky to return to their homes, many were evacuated. One family lost their own home and another lost their rental home.
“Catholic Charities assisted the family by providing emergency shelter in a motel for one week and paid one month’s rent for another family’s new rental,” said Nicolella.
As flood waters receded and communities tried to rebuild after the back-to-back floods, heavy rain and flooding once again dampened and closed most roads Aug. 30 in many areas of Schuylkill County.
To provide assistance or make a donation to help people affected by the flooding, contact Nicolella, 570-628-0466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.