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Faith & Service

LU Send Now responds to disasters in California, Carolinas

October 31, 2018

Even before classes began this semester, LU Send Now, the university’s disaster relief initiative, dispatched students to help people affected by some of the worst wildfires that California has seen.

A team of three Liberty students and one staff member arrived in Redding, Calif., on Aug. 12. The group worked with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to provide food and water to relief workers, assist with medical response, and pray with victims of the devastating Carr Fire.

The fire began in mid-July and caused eight deaths, displaced 30,000 people, and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

Liberty’s team spoke with nearly 75 local residents affected.

“Many just wanted to talk about what they’ve experienced,” said Holly Griswold, associate director of LU Send Now. “They were grieving. We had one resident stop us and ask if he could eat lunch with us and talk. There was another who waved down our car as we were driving. We talked to a police officer who lost his home and has been living in his Jeep.”

Then, in mid-September, a team of 14 left for Jacksonville, N.C., to assist with cleanup efforts following Hurricane Florence. They partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to help homeowners with mud-outs, roofing, and debris cleanup over the six-day trip.

“It was worse than I had imagined,” said Liberty junior Abby McDonough. “There was still a lot of flooding. It rained one day while we were there, and it started flooding more because the ground was already so saturated with water.”

Hurricane Florence caused record flooding in the Carolinas, killing 46 people. More than 800,000 people lost power, and officials closed many major roadways.

LU Send Now has sent relief teams following a number of deadly hurricanes in the past year, including in Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Caribbean. At the time of publication, plans were being made for trips to the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage.

This past summer, LU Send Now also helped those in need closer to home. In August, more than 150 residents of Lynchburg were evacuated from their homes after intense rainfall caused flash flooding in the city. The university offered temporary housing to 55 residents in the former Residential Annex.

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