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Kanawha County school becomes community hub for flood supplies

CAMPBELLS CREEK, W.Va. — A school along Campbells Creek in Kanawha County is preparing to welcome students back next week while also helping families impacted by Monday’s flash flooding.

The cafeteria at Mary Ingles Elementary School has been turned into a community hub of food, clothes, diapers, backpacks and cleaning supplies. Donations are being dropped off and residents are picking those items up for free.

Andrea Goff

Principal Andrea Goff told MetroNews Friday they had to do something to show the community that they’re more than just a school.

“We only have one of each grade level and so the kids know instantly that we’re their family too. That’s something that’s been built for years, not just because of the flooding. Having that relationship with the kids already, I think they knew right away they could lean on us,” Goff said.

Campbells Creek resident Bob Dickerson doesn’t have any kids who go to Mary Ingles Elementary, but he did receive a good amount of damage in his home, so he stopped by the school to look for bleach and other cleaning supplies.

“I live at Point Lick so we got a lot of mud and run off. My sister did too. The bleach comes in really handy for killing the germs and stuff,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson said he had five feet of water in his son’s garage. The flood damaged a number of tools and expensive vehicles.

“We probably lost $40,000 worth of stuff in the garage not including my camper,” he said. “We lost a $25,000 race car, four-wheelers, mowers, pressure washers, every kind of tool you could imagine.”

Goff said one of their families lost their home completely and another family had to move to Teays Valley about 30 minutes away just to have a roof over their head.

Cleaning supplies and canned food items are most critical right now, Goff said.

“Non-perishable food has been really key because a lot of them have lost everything, but they don’t have their refrigerator to have meats,” she said.

The school also has monetary donations that Goff said they can use to buy more supplies if needed in the future.

“These families are going to be affected not just right now. It’s going to be months. We’re about to have that fund for them, so they can come in a month from now and say ‘I need this’ and we can go out and get it for them,” she said.

Dickerson said he’s grateful the school opened its doors to people like him.

“The community has been great. They’ve been feeding us and giving us plenty of things to clean with. All I need is someone to clean for me for a while. I’m tired,” he said.

Goff said back on Tuesday, a day after the flood, school staff canceled all their meetings to go door-to-door and assist flood victims.

Backpack donations from two local churches lined the hallways at the school Friday too.

When students return to school on Monday, Goff said a counselor will be on hand to help put them at ease if they need someone to talk to.

“A lot of people have lost homes, so she’s going to be able to work with them and talk to them,” Goff said.

Monday’s storm produced more than 5-6 inches of rain and impacted small creeks off of U.S. Route 60 in both Kanawha and Fayette counties. Both counties remain under a State of Emergency.

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