DAYTON, Ohio – As the ongoing floods devastates communities in eastern Kentuckygroups across Ohio are seeking to provide assistance however they can.
For the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team, that usually means sending trailer after trailer of food, clothing, construction equipment, generators and volunteers to help communities begin to clean up and rebuild. Due to the ongoing emergency, Laura Cremeans, the group’s executive director, said the response team had to adjust their approach.
The group hopes to make its first trip to Kentucky early next week, bringing a trailer full of emergency supplies, medical equipment and hundreds of bottles of water.
“That’s what they need right now,” Cremeans said.
She has been in contact with a clinic in Fleming-Neon, to determine the most urgent local needs and the people in the community best equipped to help.
“Right now the roads and bridges are washed away, so it’s a real challenge to get to the houses and help rebuild them,” she said.
This infrastructure also makes it difficult for Cremeans to deploy volunteers as it has done in recent years.
“Normally we would set up a relief operation in a centralized location, but because it’s so scattered we’re not able to do that,” she said.
For now, she thinks the best way to help Southwestern Ohio is to provide equipment or monetary donations to groups like hers. Churches for Christ DRT has connected with a few clinics in Ohio to get some of the medical supplies they need, and Cremeans is asking residents to drop off bottles of water at the organization’s thrift store, Reclaimed, in side of Needmore Road, or their warehouse in Tipp City.
Once the group drops off its donations, Cremeans said it will work with locals to determine when and how they would like to see volunteers deployed to help clean up and rebuild.
“We knew we would be needed,” she said.
Cremeans and her husband founded Churches for Christ DRT in 2004, after years of volunteer work in disaster relief and experience in construction and renovation. The group has responded to disasters across the country, including the 2019 Dayton tornadoes, Hurricane Ida, and recently the tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky.