Bring your hammer, crowbar, shovel; Teams needed to Mud Out in Conway; An Interview with the Rev. Jason Collins, Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Conway, October 2, 2018
By Joy Hunter
The last time we talked the water was receding. What’s the status now?
It’s still receding, but we’ve got a ways to go. I expect it’s about where it was two years ago after Hurricane Matthew. Houses on the edge of the flooded area are accessible now. Clean up efforts have begun.
What kind of help do you need?
What’s really needed now – more than anything is labor – there’s a lot of cleaning up to do.
There’s a little misunderstanding and I don’t want to discourage anybody from bringing supplies, but I think a lot of people have the impression that when they’re coming to clean up a house they need a mop and a bucket and soap, but when we’re talking about cleaning out a house we’re talking about taking a hammer and a crowbar and a shovel and a wheelbarrow and tearing out anything that’s wet – carpet, sheetrock, subflooring, tile and getting it back to a shell and letting that dry out.
Also, people need to bring their own tools. I went yesterday to learn the process and had only a pair of gloves. I expected everything to be there. That was not the case.
Tearing out sheet rock with a hammer and a crowbar sounds hard. Are there jobs for weaklings?
There is less intensive work to be done, like packing up personal belongings that can be salvaged. Yesterday we worked with a team from AmeriCorp. Because I hadn’t brought tools, my job was to stand outside with the wheelbarrow and haul debris that was shoveled out the window to the street. People can serve food. We also need people to love on people, pray with people; make connections.
Have teams begun to come in to work?
Nobody from the Diocese has come yet. A small group from the Church of the Cross, Bluffton, is coming Thursday and staying through Saturday. They’re the only ones who have committed so far. We have another group from St. John’s, Florence, who are hoping to bring a crew October 13. Others have said they’re interested but haven’t committed yet.
In the photo the people are wearing hazmat suits. Is that necessary?
I think that’s the standard operating procedure for AmeriCorps. Most people were not wearing hazmat suits.
About how many houses need assistance?
The number estimated is 1000 in Conway, 10,000 in Horry County.
How do you choose which house to go to?
We’re partnering with Impact Ministries, a local group the county is coordinating their efforts through. They’ve been given access to the maps which show which houses flooded and which ones didn’t. They’re running a training session tomorrow on how to mud out a house.
About how long does it take to mud-out a house?
That depends. But how much time someone can give shouldn’t stop them from coming. Truthfully they appreciate whatever help you can give. I was only able to help for about an hour and a half yesterday. Any help is good.
Does the homeowner have to pay for any of this?
No. They do sign a waiver or permission slip, saying they understand that the team is coming in and will tear stuff out. It’s to protect people’s liability. That’s another reason we partnered with Impact Ministries.
What is the money donated used for?
It’s for general flood relief, supplies, feeding those out of their homes, feeding relief workers. People are lining up daily to receive food.
Where are the people who are out of their houses living?
A lot of people have had to find places to rent, or rooms in a hotel. Elizabeth, our church secretary, who had just moved back into her home after hurricane Matthew, is staying in a hotel. I think FEMA is helping some, Elizabeth’s mother started a GoFundMe account for her.
What should people know before they come?
They need to bring their own bedding, bring their own tools. We’ll provide breakfast and a bag lunch. Impact Ministries will provide a hot meal for supper and they’ll deliver it to St. Paul’s. Whether people can come for an afternoon, a day, or several days, we need help.
To sign up, contact our Diocesan Disaster Preparedness and Relief Coordinator Stephen Haynsworth or go to www. Adpr.faith, click “Get involved,” and fill out the form (just one per team). In the memo line say “We want to go to Conway.” Also, contribute financially to ongoing relief at Anglican Relief and Development.