The Holston Conference UMC Early Response Team (HC ERT) deployed 3-4 March for its first disaster response of 2011. On 28 February, the storm system that spawned tornadoes in our area dumped three inches of rain on Knoxville in three hours, causing flood damage, and temporarily trapping children at a school. As a result of the reported damage the Knoxville/Knox County Emergency Management Agency asked the Eastern Tennessee Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (ET VOAD) to assist with the ever growing numbers of uninsured homeowners calling for assistance. Holston Conference Disaster Response Ministries is a member of ET VOAD.
As a result of the storm, Second Harvest Food Bank, an Eastern Tennessee Regional Food Bank, received major flood damage. Second Harvest serves over 150,000 people each month in Knox and surrounding counties. An estimated one hundred fifty thousand dollars of food was lost to the flood damage. It also was reported that approximately eight thousand regional school children probably would go without the back pack of food they are given every Friday when they leave school to sustain them until Monday when they again receive subsidized meals at school.
Seeing that the greater immediate need for assistance was the food bank, Holston Conference offered the services of the HC ERT. The ERT spent two days, along with other volunteers and food bank staff, power washing pallets and distribution equipment, and helping to clean floors in the warehouse, in order to help restore the food bank’s capacity to receive food and be back in operation.
Except for the massive refrigeration units, which are being repaired, Second Harvest expected to be back in business Monday March 7, one week after the flood. HC and other VOAD agencies are continuing to assess the needs of homeowners.
If you are interested in joining HC ERT contact Ralph Brock, EdwinB2756@bellsouth.net. To know more about Second Harvest, and to see news video of the flooding, go to http://www.secondharvestknox.com/.