KINGSTREE, SC (WCSC) - Help is on the way for people whose lives were turned upside down by the historic flooding back in October.
"Eight Days of Hope XII: Black River South Carolina" is a new initiative that will place thousands of volunteers in Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties from Oct. 8 through Oct. 15, roughly a year after massive flooding devastated communities across the state.
"How do I go on a plane and go back to Tupelo, Mississippi and sleep in my comfortable bed in a house with a roof that protects me and my five kids when I know there's somebody in South Carolina that is waiting for a glimpse of hope," the organization's president Steve Tybor said.
"Our goal is to rebuild between 250 to 300 homes," Tybor, said. The budget for the mission is $500,000, but he said he is working to figure out how to provide assistance to the additional homes that need some type of major help, a number he says may be as high as 700.
The logistics of this event is immense," Tybor said. "We literally have 84 days to prepare for what I believe will be the biggest eight day mission in the history of our great country."
Linda Burgess is hoping Eight Days of Hope can replace her parents' porch that was damaged by the flood.
Burgess was impressed with the organization and its president.
"It was amazing and what was so heartfelt when he got emotional and I know it was all about God," Burgess said.
Kevin Shwedo, who Gov. Nikki Haley appointed to lead South Carolina recovery efforts, said it takes years to recover from disasters like this one.
"The federal money is not available to the state, so the real recovery hasn't begun," Shwedo said. "If it weren't for faith-based organizations, we would not be where we are today."
Shwedo said faith-based organizations like Eight Days of Hope have put the focus on the victims.
"They didn't look at the money, they looked at the need," Shwedo said.
Leaders in Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties joined Tybor at a 10 a.m. press conference in Kingstree at the Williamsburg County Short-Term Recovery Center.
"Forty-four percent of the damage from the flooding and storms happened in Georgetown and Williamsburg County," Lucy Woodhouse, CEO and president of the Black River United Way said.
Woodhouse said residents in need of assistance should make sure they are registered by calling 211 and selecting option seven.
Officials say one of the greatest unmet needs is home assessments that will prioritize which homes get the help when Eight Days of Hope volunteers arrive. Anyone able to serve on home assessment teams the weekend of July 22-24 is asked to called (843) 264-9596.