Neighbors helping Neighbors in Rockwall County
UPDATE – After the story below was published in our latest print edition, we received the following update from G. David Smith:
(June 24, 2015) After another torrential downpour on Sunday, the efforts to recover from prior flooding in Lake Rockwall Estates were stalled. Temporary housing is still being provided and more long-term housing is being acquired for residents displaced by the flooding. Plans are being made to locate trailers on property in Lake Rockwall Estates to be used as temporary housing until permanent replacement or repair of the damaged residences can be completed. The Rockwall Housing Development Corporation and Helping Hands continue their efforts to assist flood victims with housing and other essential needs. Donations are always needed and welcomed. Pictured are Larry Hance of the Law Firm of Hance Wickham and Donna Allen, President of the Rockwall Housing Development Corporation. Hance is presenting the RHDC and Helping Hands a contribution for the flood relief efforts.
(ROCKWALL COUNTY, TX – June 23, 2015) Rockwall County Helping Hands and several community leaders teamed together recently to provide relief for the families affected by last month’s flooding of the Lake Rockwall Estates neighborhood.
The social and health services agency lent assistance to several families forced to evacuate their homes by placing them in local hotels, and providing food and gift cards for essential items.
Due to recent heavy rainfall, Wallace Lake, a soil conservation reservoir on the east side of the neighborhood, saw its waters rise well above normal levels and flood out several homes in the area. With water up to the window sills, about a half a dozen families were forced to abandon their homes.
For safety reasons, the Rockwall Fire Department requested that Oncor disconnect electric utilities to the flooded homes. The Kaufman-Van Zandt-Rockwall Soil and Water Conservation District, which operates Wallace Lake for the state of Texas, took measures to facilitate increased release of water from Wallace Lake.
Lending a hand
According to Jon Bailey, President and CEO of Rockwall County Helping Hands, the agency was able to place three of the families into hotels, and has continued aiding others affected by the flood as they deal with the devastating aftermath.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Bailey said. “As the main social services center ofRockwallCounty, we’re here to provide for those in a short-term crisis or need but also to be that hub for disaster-type events such as this. We’re proud to do it and want to help these families any way we can.”
In the event of unexpected disasters such as floods or financial crisis, many in the community turn towards Helping Hands as their go-to source for immediate relief – and for good reason. Such was the case for local resident Marilyn, guardian of her two granddaughters, who was diagnosed with cancer. With her social security disability check as her only income, Marilyn faced the tall task of paying off her extremely high water bill due to a leak in her home, as well as her medical expenses and providing for her grandchildren. Helping Hands provided relief to Marilyn by assisting with the water bill and providing a partial payment on rent, food, and clothes for her grandkids.
How you can help
Keeping with the spirit of Helping Hands’ theme, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” community leaders Bennie Daniels, John White, David Smith, Sandy Doyle, Larry Parks and Dennis Bailey are among those who’ve been coordinating private fundraising efforts for affected families. Rockwall Fire Chief Mark Poindexter continues to head the City ofRockwall’s efforts to provide relief. Representatives of various departments with the city, Helping Hands, the Red Cross, and others set up meetings with affected families to answer questions and gather additional information needed to assist residents.
Of course, Helping Hands could not function as the primary social and health services agency of Rockwall County without the generosity of its fellow Rockwall neighbors. This year, the 501(c)3 organization hopes to reach $240,000 in donations for its Annual Campaign, a goal that can easily be obtained if 1,000 people made a monthly gift of $20 (that’s less than 70 cents per day!).
To make a donation to the Annual Campaign and make a difference in the lives of those in need, go online to rockwallhelpinghands.com/annual-campaign/ and click on “Donate Now,” or contact the agency directly at 972-771-4357.
Those wishing to make contributions towards the relief effort should make checks out to Rockwall County Helping Hands –PO Box 375,Rockwall,TX75087– and to mark contributions as “flood assistance.” Folks can mail contributions to the above address, deliver them in person to Rockwall County Helping Hands or call the organization and any of the members of the local fundraising committee with any questions.
Story by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News reporter. Photo courtesy of Bob Lewis, Planet Rockwall, whose flood coverage can be read at PlanetRockwall.com.
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