WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — 5 months after the storms that brought disastrous flooding to Whatcom County areas, there are still many recovering from the devastation and those efforts result in piles of debris. As such, a volunteer cleanup effort is scheduled in the Sumas area to haul away debris this Saturday, April 23rd,
and Sunday, 24th, from 9am to 4pm. This is being organized by the Whatcom Long-Term Recovery Group, formerly known as “Whatcom Strong.”
In preparation, organizers are seeking volunteers to assist with the clean out/tear out of sheet rock and drywall and the hauling of house and yard debris resulting from the flood damage recovery effort.
Sumas areas residents and businesses are asked to complete this online form to request volunteer assistance or to offer to be a volunteer.
The Whatcom Long-Term Recovery Group (WLTRG) is a charitable nonprofit corporation formed in February 2022 and is based out of Nooksack.
It was formed to provide recovery coordination and services to individuals, families, businesses and communities adversely affected by the mid-November flood disaster and future disasters.
The group behind WLTRG initially formed under the name “Whatcom Strong.” This was a grassroots effort of local churches, city officials and private citizens. The group was effective in collecting needed data, organizing volunteers and non-profits organizations, collecting and distributing resources including food, clothing and household goods. In addition, the group was able to quickly distribute emergency grants to victims for basic needs and emergent repairs.
Much of their efforts have been in collaboration with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management.
WLTRG’s structure follows a long-term recovery group model formulated under the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster guidelines.
Currently, a disaster case manager lead and 8 local disaster case managers (DCMs) are working to contact more than 1,500 households impacted to assess current needs.
According to WLTRG, the DCMs are on the front lines of the long-term recovery effort. They maintain files on each individual needing assistance, refer them to resources, help them develop recovery plans, represent their needs at the group’s Unmet Needs Committee roundtable, schedule volunteers through a volunteer committee leader and represent their needs to the repairs and rebuild committee leader.
Anyone wanting to learn more or contribute to the recovery efforts, is encouraged to visit www.whatcomstrong.com and click the “DONATE” button to be directed to the Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group fund established through the Whatcom Community Foundation. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.