By George Knox, Lutheran Services Carolinas

In October 2015, South Carolina experienced a devastating and destructive 1,000-year flood. As a result of hurricane Joaquin more than 11 trillion gallons of water engulfed the area and swallowed everything in its path – including thousands of homes in Richland and Lexington Counties. There were nearly 25,000 FEMA registrations in Richland and Lexington Counties alone.
There are more than 1,200 families in Richland and Lexington counties who still need help repairing their homes.

ELCALDRLutheran Services Carolinas has been there since the beginning. As the LDR church wide representative for North and South Carolina, LSC knew it would have a role to play in this disaster. Our role would consist of getting involved after the camera’s were turned off. Once this disaster left the pages of the newspaper, the most vulnerable would be in need of services. LSC applied for a state wide grant that would have allowed us to hire multiple case managers throughout the state. Our agency was given a preliminary letter of approval, and as the only in state agency with that approval, we felt very good that we would be able to do this work state wide. In the end the state chose an out of state agency to do this work. We were disappointed, but we also knew that we wanted to help as many people as we could. LSC then reached out to LDR church wide to seek funding to hire case managers to work in Richland and Lexington. As a result, LDR gave Lutheran Services $238,000 to fund two case managers for two years. Our case managers will assist families with any unmet needs they may have. They will locate resources for these families to assist them in getting back on their feet. Home repairs are a huge need right now, but our case managers will help these families with whatever their unmet needs are, that were a result of this flood. Our case managers are Lavada Smith, and Ashley Thompson, both have a lot of experience in case management and finding resources. We are very excited to have them as part of our team at LSC.

Recently, we attended a case management meeting, and as we listened to case managers speak of the difficulty they were having to help some families with resources, we decided that if we had a fund available to help families directly if we were unable to locate a resource, that would be a great thing to do. LSC had just received a $10,000 anonymous gift, and as thankful as we are to receive that gift, we knew it would be wonderful to have more funds available if we could find them. We then reached out to the SC Synod, and within an hour of reaching out them, they contacted us with a gift of just over $65,000 to assist families affected by this disaster. On 10/3/16, we had a ceremony at Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Columbia, which was a headquarters for many first responders during this event. At that ceremony we were presented with a check to assist families. We are very thankful and excited to receive this gift, and we are so glad that we have a substantial amount of money to assist families with unmet needs in our communities in Richland and Lexington County. We would like to thank the SC Synod for being so generous and knowing that the congregations throughout the state who donated to this cause, that their dollars are going to help families directly. Our agency’s mission is always to help the most vulnerable, and this gift will allow us to do just that. Matthew 25:40 Jesus says that” when you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”

See a video about the check presentation from the South Carolina Synod to Lutheran Services Carolinas.

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