Guest post by Sarai Grace Stanford, Communications Fellow

On June 7, a storm tore through the Memphis area that left 200 homes with substantial flood damage. In less than four hours, $7 million worth of uninsured flash flood damage was done throughout homes in Germantown, leaving families devastated. Many of these homeowners woke up to more than five feet of water in their homes, leaving them without floors and walls and without the resources or means to fix the damages. A group of neighbors came together to form Germantown HELPS and have worked alongside these homeowners to help them piece their homes and lives back together. They began recruiting other neighbors and partnering with local churches to help with construction and financial and spiritual needs.

However, there’s been a stigma associated with helping families in Germantown, as the assumption to the crisis is usually that they have insurance or the money to recover from the damages. The reality is just the opposite. The type of flooding done was considered a “flash” flood, which insurance companies will not cover. If this happened to most of us, we wouldn’t have extra funds just sitting around to cover the renovations either. 

When I first heard about the initiative, I was drawn to the serving opportunity because the types of repairs we would work on were just like what I’ve done before with YUGO on mission trips to Mexico. So Stephanie Powell, Christ Church’s Director of Global Missions, and I began recruiting former Mexico trip attendees to go and be the hands and feet of Christ. When we arrived on site, it looked like an ordinary family home, but upon stepping inside, it was far from it. The floors had all been torn up, and most of the walls only bore support beams. So what did we do? We started measuring drywall, cutting insulator and working to give this family their normal life back. 

So how can you help? Many of you have expressed interest in serving on a labor-based outreach, but it’s difficult to give up a whole week or even weekend to go and serve, and the costs can be high. What’s so great about this project is that you can serve even if you only have a few hours. They need help hanging drywall, mudding, painting and more. Don’t let the fact that you haven’t done anything like this before deter you either. I’d never done insulation before I served with them! Pray about this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ across the street with our neighbors. For more information or to sign up to serve, visit their website at germantownhelps.com.

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