Rain fell for three straight days in Munster, Ind., last September, causing the Little Calumet River to overflow.
By the time the water receded, 1,000 homes were flooded and 100 were completely destroyed.
Even before the water went down, members of First Christian Reformed Church met with eight other churches to formulate a relief plan.
One church became a clothing bank and another a food bank. Tents for distributing water, food, and clothing were set up in three neighborhoods.
Members of First CRC collected food and clothes. They also made and delivered 300 sandwiches along with fruit and bottled water.
As soon as the water receded, young people from local churches began the messy job of helping people clean up their water-logged homes.
In November the same group of churches formed an “Adopt-a-Family” program. Six of the families, with no prior connection to the church, were adopted by First CRC.
“We plan to give friendly care and personal and spiritual support for the next year or two,” said First’s pastor, Rev. Herman J. Schutt. Aid to the families includes clothing, bedding, and Christmas gifts. Rebuilding the families’ damaged homes will require many hours of repair work, such as replacing drywall and repainting.
When FEMA and United Way set up offices to provide financial resources in the area, representatives from FEMA were surprised by how well the community had already come together to help their neighbors.