While working with on-site partners to bring relief to Haiti following the recent devastating earthquake and the wildfires in the Western U.S., Somebody Cares has also been assisting Carlisle, Kentucky—a small town with a population of 1,600—where 100 homes took in up to 4 feet of water during an unexpected and deadly flash flood on July 30. Many of the homes have already been condemned; some were swept entirely off their foundations. The area is not a designated flood zone, so homeowners do not have flood insurance. One woman died when rescuers were unable to get her out of her home.

Pam Randolph, representing Carlisle Methodist Church, talks with one of the children who received a Somebody Cares comfort bear.

“I have never seen anything so bad in my life,” commented one mother of four. “I thought it was the end of the world.” She captured a video from her front porch that showed a river of water flowing through Main Street carrying cars, lawn ornaments, and more. Her children’s trampoline ended up in a yard nearly a block away. When it rains now, one of her younger children asks, “Mommy, is it going to flood again?”

One family with a small child had been living in a camper in their back yard while renovating their home. As the water rose, they were forced to climb on top of the camper where they waited to be rescued.

Belinda Thacker, Communications Director for Somebody Cares, lived in Carlisle during part of her elementary school years and now lives in nearby Lexington. She connected with a friend who is involved with a local church, who in turn connected her with Paula Hunter, Resource Officer for the local school system. Paula identified children in the schools whose families had been affected by the flood so SCA could bring comfort bears to the elementary children along with gift cards for the parents. “There is so much trauma from this flood,” she said.

A young volunteer helps with clean-up a few days after the flood.

One homeowner, Lesa, had just purchased her first new car in 17 years. It got swept away and destroyed. But Lesa had also just given her life to Jesus a few weeks earlier, which helped with her perspective.

“It’s been a rough three weeks but I know I am blessed,” she said. “There are so many others who have it much worse than me. I am thankful to God for all my blessings.”

Lesa’s niece, who lived two doors down, was awakened to her 7-year-old telling her, “There’s water in the house.” She awoke to find water half-way up her bed. “Thank you for what you’re doing,” she said. “Everyone has gone above and beyond to help.”

One mother wrote on social media: “My kids slept with their bears last night–thank you guys so much!” Another said, “Thank you so much, Gavin slept with his all night.” One little girl “was so happy with her bear that she continued to hug it tightly even after she got home.”

Please continue to pray for these families as they recover and rebuild. It’s through your prayers and support that we are able to bring hope and help across the nation, around the world, and to small towns in Kentucky.

Thank you for caring!