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Churches, Georgetown County helping in storm’s aftermath

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Scott Harper/Times The Screven Baptist youth group went around cleaning yards and praying for people Monday. Pictured are Jaena Dominguez, Hanna Wolff and Dejanee Nixon.

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When Larhonda Deas of the Choppee Community showed up for a meal distributed by the Salvation Army Monday, she had been without electricity for six days.

The struggle was especially hard for Deas because she suffers from sleep apnea and requires the assistance of a C-PAP machine to keep her breathing as she sleeps.

“I have been up all night and napping during the day when there are people around,” she said.

It is people like Deas that the Southern Baptist Association have been helping by providing hot meals during the power outage caused by last week's ice storm that hit Georgetown County harder than predicted by the National Weather Service.

The Baptist Association placed a trailer at Screven Baptist Church in Maryville Friday that was used by people needing to take a hot shower or wash clothing.

On Sunday the trailer was moved to Ringel Heights Baptist Church north of Georgetown where the organization began preparing three meals per day that were delivered to rural areas by the Salvation Army and Red Cross.

Wil Bradham, director of missions for the Southeastern Baptist Association, said about 150 meals were served Sunday night but as word spread he was expecting about 450 suppers to be distributed Monday evening. They were also expecting to prepare three meals Tuesday.

Bradham said once he received the call about the needs in Georgetown County, he “got the ball rolling” to get food to people without electricity.

“I was not notified (about the need for meals) until Saturday. By Sunday, we were cooking,” he said.

Cynthia Britton was another person helped by the meals. She was still in the dark Monday and was taking care of her parents, made more difficult because her father, John Brown, has dementia.

“We have been using a gas heater and have been cooking outside on a grill,” she said.

Nicole Watts of Rose Hill said it was “cold and dark” at her home while she was without power. She said she was “blessed” because her mother, Vickie Baxley, had electricity so she and her family had a place to stay.

Their church, Rose Hill Baptist, opened its family life center for people who needed a warm place to stay or a shower.

In Maryville, Don McCraw recently had surgery and has been unable to clean the tree debris that littered his yard. On Monday, taking advantage of being out of school for Presidents Day, the youth group from Screven Baptist Church went to McCraw's home and cleaned the debris.

“This is great. It is fantastic,” said Barbara McCraw.

The youth did the same at other houses. Not only did they clean debris, they also delivered bottled water, fruit and blankets to those in need. They also took time to pray for everyone they visited which youth leader, Jay Smith, said was the most important thing.

Debris removal

With so much yard debris having to be removed, Georgetown County is trying to help.

The county has waived all tipping fees for drop off of residential storm debris but all commercial haulers are still required to pay the fee.

“We want to be helpful while our area is recovering from damages done by last week's storm, but as things stand, it seems fair to us that businesses who are being paid to remove debris should pay the regular tipping fee versus passing the cost along to taxpayers,” said Ray Funnye, director of Georgetown County Public Services

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