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WV Disaster Relief Effort: Little Things Mean a Lot

July 9, 2007

As people in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma pick up the pieces from recent floods, a unique relief project is helping to prepare for future disasters here in West Virginia. Community Lutheran Partners is assembling kits full of household goods for disaster survivors with things like can openers, candles, rubber bands, and duct tape. Director Sarah Soltow says the project started four years ago, when someone noticed that canned food was a popular donation item but not can openers. She says over 1,200 kits have been given out since then to survivors of floods here in the state, Hurricane Katrina survivors, and others.

“All of their household goods have been washed away, and this little package, which is called a One-Plus Kit, contains household incidentals and the most important one is the can opener, so don't forget the can opener.”

The group is also kicking off a new effort to gather things like sheets, towels, utensils, and other household goods, to help people get back on their feet after the initial disaster has passed. Donations are collected at Lutheran churches around the state.

Soltow notes that even though West Virginia isn't one of the nation's wealthier states, she's seen a great response when it comes to disaster relief programs like this one.

“People really come together and provide for one another, and people with not much can provide a whole lot. That, to me, is, are the qualities that make America great.”

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV