There’s a phrase drawn in the dried mud that covers some flood-damaged drywall in Jenny Winkelhorst’s Abbotsford home.
“2022 please be kind”
“This is my nightmare we are living,” she said in a Facebook post. “Our house is to the studs. We’re devastated.”
Winkelhorst said the gift cards and supplies being donated from the community are what is keeping them going through anxiety and depression that’s gripping many as they struggle to rebuild. They are being donated through a group that mobilized on Facebook, called “Helping Sumas Prairie Farmers – Flood Support.” It was started Nov. 21 by two women – Jimi Meier and Hallie Jacobs – who live within the flood zone.
They were out donating on Jan. 12 and met with people who are in the middle of a life-changing event with some big decisions to make. Some will move back eventually, after lengthy and costly repairs. Others may give up and leave their homes for good.
Meier wrote about it all in a long Facebook post with photos of how devastating the muddy water on homes.
“We had a very insightful day handing out donations,” she said. “We were able to meet quite a few people and every time we leave a place, we are left without words. A few tell us they are leaving. They can’t take this type of event again.”
She said for one family, the devastation was compounded two days later with a heart attack. The father survived, thanks to his wife and paramedics.
They spoke to another family that had only lived in Sumas Prairie for a few months, and aren’t sure what’s next for them.
“Another apologizes as she begins to cry,” Meier recalled. “She is broken over the thought that she has lost some of her much-loved animals.”
There was one house they visited that had been looted, with fans, heaters and more taken in those first days of recovery.
“I feel it is important for you all to see. That after eight weeks since this happened, homes are looking like this.”
The photos Meier shared show multiple lines of mud caked on the everything.
And she said, these stories and images are why they are still collecting gift cards and money, and why there is still hot lunch and fresh coffee every day at Crossroads, and many other efforts still continuing two months later.
“To see this first hand, is so heartbreaking. To hear their stories, and watch them cry,” she said. “Thank you to everyone still donating. Thank you to those that are helping and arranging. These people still need us. The help and donations are slowing down now. But we will still be with them as long as we can.”
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