Twenty-two Headwaters Relief Organization volunteers traveled to Vilonia, Arkansas on May 30th to assist with clean up and mental health support to those affected by the tornados on April 24th , 2014. Vilonia is a half hour from the Little Rock metropolitan area with a population of 3,800 people. The tornado damage in the area where we worked wiped out 54 homes in one subdivision. There were 700 damaged homes in Vilonia and 15 tornado related deaths. This community was struck by tornados three years earlier, in 2011, as well.
Headwaters Relief volunteers coordinated our work with a local disaster relief non-profit, The Dream Center. We worked in the affected sub-division, assisting with clean up of the damaged homes and supporting the people there. Debris from the homes is separated and moved to the curb for pickup by the county. People cannot re-build or sell their property until the property cleanup is completed. When homeowners have to hire contractors to do the clean-up work because it isn’t covered by insurance, it may cost up to $20,000.
As we have experienced in the past, once the media attention has come and gone, people affected by disaster still need help. The Dream Center volunteer coordinators told us that in the first two weeks after the tornados, over 7000 volunteers provided assistance in community. Now, they are seeking volunteer help and were grateful for the experienced Headwaters Relief volunteers, who ranged in age from 17 years to 80 years old. To see photos from our recent trip visit our photo gallery here.