Volunteers from Across Country Help Flood Victims

BENTON, Pa. -- Volunteers from several states across the country will be staying in Columbia County for three weeks to help flood victims rebuild their lives.

One week after floodwaters ravaged parts of Columbia County, communities in the Benton area are still recovering from the damage that Mother Nature left behind.

"A lot of times, we get so caught up in the things we own and when it's all gone, we don't know where to turn, so we show them that ourselves have been drastically changed by the Lord, and there's hope," said Chris Chiles, manager of the rapid response team.

From afar, the Christian nonprofit organization "Eight Days of Hope" saw what was happening, particularly in Benton and Stillwater, so it sent a rapid response team to central Pennsylvania to help tear down, repair, and rebuild homes for flood victims.

"When I saw what happened in Benton, it ripped my heart out. They were just so damaged," said Rose White of Bloomsburg.

Eight Days of Hope has volunteers in Columbia County from 14 different states and Canada. Those who are being helped here say they can't thank the volunteers enough, given everything they've been through.

"I'm so thankful. I didn't even know that this kind of thing was happening. I'm just really thankful," said Maralee Yost of Benton.

"Our hearts break with compassion for people when everything they own is piled up outside," said David Fisher, a volunteer from Texas.

"You try to reassure them and help them get through that process and let them know that God is in control and we're going to help you and there's going to be a better day and help them rebuild their lives," said Louisiana volunteer David McConathy.

The rapid response team and its volunteers plan to be in the Benton/Stillwater area for three weeks. Nearly 150 volunteers are scheduled to help out.