East St Louis partners with Lowe’s to aid flood recovery

East St. Louis will partner with Lowe’s to distribute relief kits to residents trying to recover from historic flooding that hit the area last month. The announcement was made at a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

The kits will include cleaning supplies, flashlights, air conditioning units and more. Supplies can be picked up at City Hall, located at 301 Riverpark Drive, beginning August 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Lowe’s will also be donating additional products beyond Friday’s event.

“Nothing is more important right now than having community production and understanding what the community needs and being able to respond with the community,” said Mayor Robert Eastern III.

Wednesday’s briefing was the city’s second press conference since heavy rains last month caused severe flash flooding. In July, up to 12 inches of rain hit the St. Louis metro area, including the Metro East.

Families living along Terrace Drive and Mary Avenue in East St. Louis have been hardest hit by flooding in the city. Residents in the neighborhood asked for help because the water hadn’t gone down for almost four days.

Mayor Eastern announced a state of emergency for the city on Tuesday, July 26, when flooding began. With help from the American Red Cross, the city opened a temporary shelter for displaced residents at Mason-Clark Middle School later in the week. Eastern said on Wednesday the shelter was disabled as the water in the area receded. He said residents who were still at the shelter had been placed in temporary accommodation.

On August 1, Governor JB Pritzker signed a disaster declaration for St. Clair County and Washington County, which provided East St. Louis residents with information to recover from the flood. through the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC). The center was housed at East St. Louis High School this past weekend and has served nearly 500 area families.

Beth Elders, executive director of the American Red Cross of Greater St. Louis, said residents who still need emergency shelter and assistance can visit the agency’s shelter at the community center in Saint-Vincent, at 7335 St Charles Rock Rd. in Saint-Louis.

The Red Cross will operate the last day of a multi-agency resource center at Friendly Temple, 5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis, Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The alumni said services at these locations are available for Illinois and Missouri. residents.

“All is just lost”

The state also offers a multi-agency virtual resource center for residents.

“The city has worked hard to meet the needs of our community and we have been diligent in our task,” Eastern said.

Sharon Franklin, who resides on Terrace Drive, is currently staying at the Baymont by Wyndham Hotel in O’Fallon, which was provided through help she received at the Multi-Agency Resource Center last weekend. But she is trying to find permanent accommodation because of flood damage to her home.

“There’s mold, water damage, and I didn’t know a tree had fallen in the yard and washed out the entire porch and back of my house,” Franklin said. “Then the mold – you smell it when you walk in. All is just lost.”

Denise Smith, another Terrace Drive resident, said her job placed her at a nearby hotel. She said she thought she picked up a cold while cleaning her mold-infested house.

“Even being in this house trying to clean some things that I can salvage, it’s not possible because of all the mold,” she said.

Eastern said that with the help of community partnerships, like the one with Lowe’s, residents should be able to safely clean their homes while they recover from flooding.

Community Lifeline, located at 1764 State St. in East St. Louis, accepts donations for toiletries, food and clothing. Donations can be dropped off at the nonprofit’s Family Resource Center at 1468 State St. during the week.

On weekends, donations can be dropped off at New Life Community Church at 1919 State St. Students in East St. Louis School District 189 (fall semester begins August 15) who have been affected by flooding can contact the district Wraparound Wellness. Center at 618-646-3333.

The city also shared a Google form for residents who have been affected by the flooding. Residents in need of assistance are encouraged to call United Way of Greater St. Louis at 2-1-1, Urban League at 618-274-1150 and Community Lifeline at (618) 482-2950.

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DeAsia Paige joined the Belleville News-Democrat as a member of the Report for America corps in 2020. She is a community reporter covering East St. Louis and surrounding areas. DeAsia previously interned at VICE and The Detroit Free Press. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020.

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