Volunteers with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) recently travelled to Merritt to lend a helping hand in areas still struggling to recover from November’s flooding, aiding 21 households during their ten day stay.

Cleanup and recovery efforts are still very much in the forefront of the community as hundreds of Merrittonians remain displaced from their homes.

ADRA has been offering their volunteer provided manual labour for flood relief efforts since arriving in town on April 17. Their tasks ranging in variety from clean outs of flooded homes and properties, to delivering drywall and gyprock for repairs, it is clear that recipients of the organization’s support are grateful.

“It feels amazing,” said Chris Kurk of the support he received from the Christian non-profit. The Merritt local’s trailer and property were heavily damaged during the floods, and he remains displaced.

“These guys have been so awesome. They’ve gotten all the mud out from my yard and under my trailer. It’s a godsend, I feel, that these people have been here to help. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, big time.”

Kurk says he hopes to be back in his home soon, a reality not possible without the support he has received. Staying busy during their short stay in the community, ADRA assisted 20 other households in addition to Kurk’s.

“Our mission is to help in either development or disaster,” said Sonja Buchanan, provincial coordinator for ADRA.

The organization has chapters throughout BC, Canada, and the world, looking to bring about positive change in disaster affected or underdeveloped areas through volunteerism. ADRA does not charge for its services, with volunteers from Abbotsford Adventist Church visiting Merritt to offer cleanup and flood recovery support to those who need it most.

“A lot of the people we’ve been asked to help with have other issues too. They’re sick, they’re elderly, they’re in a wheelchair. We help those who are down and out and don’t have anybody to help them.”

Many homes in the flood inundation area remain uninhabitable, with some not even having begun initial cleanup efforts. Residents in these areas have felt the strain of meeting application deadlines, coordinating repairs or demolition of their property, and making new living arrangements, on top of the emotional traumas that come with such events. ADRA sought to bring relief where they could.

“We’re trying to turn sad situations into happy ones,” said Jim Bradford, local organizer for ADRA. “It’s an important thing because we’re a Christian organization. The Christian concept is that God is good, and we also want to be showing that goodness to the community.”

Bradford says he is touched by the outpouring of support from community members and volunteers. Responses to receiving support have often been emotional.

“Tears of joy. They have hope.”

Moving forward, the organization looks to continue supporting Merritt residents and continues to plan events. Those requiring support for flood recovery should call 1-877-665-0341, or visit the Merritt Support Centre at 101B-1700 Garcia Street.