The flash floods of the past several weeks have left many homeowners in the region with water damage. In response, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Long Term Recovery Task Force -- a collaboration of faith-based, volunteer organizations facilitated by Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania and the Allegheny County Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters -- is attempting to help those still impacted by floods and is seeking volunteers to help in the continuing recovery.
Volunteers are needed to assist with mucking and decontaminating basements, deconstruction of water damaged materials, and some reconstruction projects. Limited resources may be available to assist with the replacement of electrical boxes, water heaters and furnaces.
The Rev. Donald Green, executive director of Christian Associates, said as important as decontaminating a flooded area after the water has been removed, is ensuring that it is thoroughly dry, eliminating the risk of black mold, which is itself a biohazard. To assist clients with this issue, the organization will be circulating fans and dehumidifiers.
Three volunteer deployment sites are being established at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Steubenville Pike in Oakdale (412-788-4513); South Hills Interfaith Ministries on Park Avenue in Bethel Park (412-854-9120); and Central Highlands United Methodist Church on Timothy Drive in Elizabeth Township (412-751-0511). Individuals willing to volunteer their time and expertise should contact any one of the centers.
Though Christian Associates is facilitating the cleanup, Rev. Green said volunteers of any faith tradition and skill level are welcome.
"Anyone who is willing to get dirty in the cleanup process is invited to step forward," he said.
As they gain a better understanding of the number of people impacted and the reconstruction needs, Rev. Green said the group will put out a call for volunteers with specific skills, such as carpenters, drywall installers, electricians and masons.
Those unable to help with time or talent may help the effort by making donations, Rev. Green noted. Tax-deductible contributions go directly to buying supplies to put people back into a "new normal," Rev. Green said.
Contributions should be sent and made payable to SW PA Long Term Recovery c/o Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, 204 27th St., Pittsburgh 15201.
Individuals who have sustained damage to their place of residence should call 2-1-1 or 1-888-553-5778, the regional, community 24-hour hot line to request assistance. Contact information and a damage report will be collected and then forwarded to a local disaster recovery site.
Only residential properties are eligible for volunteer assistance, as well as any reconstruction or replacement equipment.
Details: www.casp.org or call 412-688-9070.
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: email@example.com.