ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) — United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) announced it launched a community effort to provide short and long-term assistance to those affected by Tuesday’s flooding in Buchanan County.
On July 12, floodwaters either damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes in the Dismal River, Hale Creek, Jewell Valley, Patterson, Pilgrim’s Knob and Whitewood areas.
United Way launched an online portal for those wishing to donate to the recovery process. Access the Buchanan County 2022 Disaster Fund by clicking here or text GIVE to 276-200-2440. Calls can be made to 276-628-2160.
Food City also launched a donation effort for those affected by the floods and will donate all that is gathered from July 16-22.
“Southwest Virginia is blessed with individuals and organizations that step up in times like this,” UWSWVA President Travis Staton stated in a news release. “Even before we could call Food City, for instance, they already had a truck full of bottled water on the way. Southwest Virginians take care of Southwest Virginians.”
On Wednesday, July 20 — one week after the flooding — Staton said the natural disaster destroyed 30 homes in its wake.
“It’s going to take some time and a lot of resources to really help these people get back on track,” he told News Channel 11 in a live interview.
“It’s going to take money and a lot of volunteer labor,” Staton said. “Every volunteer that we’re able to get to help us in the longer term in the recovery process really saves and stretches those dollars further because we’re not paying for labor; we’re paying more for building materials and supplies.”
UWSWVA’s director of development, Cristie Lester, reminded the community that there are many ways to help.
“There are four ways that you can give back,” Lester said. “You can go on our website; you can call in. We have volunteers standing by this morning to take your call. You can use our text GIVE option, or you can go to any Food City store in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia and give at the registers.”
Part of the assistance efforts is made possible by donations from American Electric Power (AEP), with the agency providing funds that allowed the purchase of flashlights, lanterns, coolers and other necessities for those who remain without power, according to Staton.
The Thompson Charitable Foundation also committed to assisting with long-term recovery.
Staton stated in a news release that these efforts are separate from the Buchanan County 2022 Disaster Fund, which remains active.