Torrential rains and flooding struck the central part of the U.S. state of Vermont in July, leaving homes, businesses and infrastructure severely damaged.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided humanitarian aid, and local members gathered to give assistance.
Wearing yellow Helping Hands T-shirts, volunteers shoveled mud, cleared yard debris and mucked out homes in Montpelier, Barre, Johnson and Cabot.
Montpelier Vermont Stake President Erik S. Worthington invited the local wards to hold abbreviated Sunday worship services so the members could go out and serve in their communities.
“We are grateful to serve side by side with friends, neighbors, all affected in different ways by this flood,” President Worthington said. “To see many of our members come from near and far to unload goods for the community, to muck out basements, speaks to the Church’s core values of following Jesus’ example and helping those in need, whoever they are.”
The Montpelier meetinghouse became a location for Church humanitarian donations to be gathered. Food, water, hand tools and cleaning supplies were made available to communities and to other volunteer organizations.
Montpelier resident Claudia Fitch made several trips from Berlin to Marshfield and Cabot with a truck loaded with supplies.
“It was amazing to see the look of relief on faces as they reached for shovels and rakes we were unloading,” she said. “Every town coordinator was grateful for anything we had to offer — from water and food kits, box fans or shop vacs.”
One resident, after welcoming Church volunteers into her home, quietly said, “Jesus is in the room.”
Around 200 more members of the Church from Bangor, Maine; Albany, New York; Springfield, Massachusetts; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Blackstone Valley, Rhode Island, arrived last weekend to volunteer in the clean-up effort as well.
Residents shared their heartfelt appreciation for the donated supplies and for the Church’s assistance, acknowledging the significant impact that the volunteers made in the recovery efforts.
— Kristen LaJeunesse, director of communication and public affairs for the Church in Northern New England, contributed to this report.