POND, Calif. (KERO) — The town of Pond continues to deal with the aftermath of all the recent storms and flooding. Residents say the flood was "absolutely devastating," with gutted homes and debris everywhere. Now, a non-profit organization from Virginia has come in to help, giving Pond residents renewed hope that soon, they'll be able to go home.
"It's hard to see past this to the hope," said Pond community member Sandra Blevins.
Blevins is one of the residents whose homes was damaged. She says it's a hard sight to see walking into her home, where all that's left are walls covered in mud and debris. Although she is devastated, she says she is grateful for the assistance the town is receiving.
God's Pit Crew is a Virginia-based non-profit organization. Founded in 1999, their overall mission is to travel throughout the country to help people in places where disaster has struck.
After hearing about the floods in Pond, volunteers flew in from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio, and Virginia. Chris Chiles, immediate response coordinator for God's Pit Crew, says the organization wants to help as many people as they can with the time they're given.
"We try to just focus on one family at a time. We want them to know that they're loved, they're cared for. We treat them just like they're our family," said Chiles. "They are family to us."
The efforts of God's Pit Crew are mainly based on the cleanup. Volunteers have been removing damaged drywall and insulation, ripping out ruined flooring, and using fans and dehumidifiers to dry out houses.
As of now, the non-profit is working with a crew of 8 people, along with members of the community. Still, they are asking for more volunteers. They hope to clear out most of the debris in the coming week.
If you would like to join God's Pit Crew's cleanup efforts in Pond, you can find links both to donate or to volunteer at their website.
IN-DEPTH: CLEANUP SAFETY
As cleanup efforts continue after the flooding all across Kern County, 23ABC is taking an in-depth look into ways to stay safe while cleaning up after a flood.
According to the Red Cross, many injuries can happen during clean-up, so it's important to wear protective equipment, like boots, gloves, long pants, eye protection, and an N-95 respirator to protect your lungs.
It's also recommended to learn how to use cleanup equipment safely, and never touch wet electrical equipment. Water and electricity is a deadly combination.
Also, working in teams and taking frequent rest and water breaks while cleaning up is the best way to avoid burnout or overexertion, both things that are more likely to happen when a person is under the kind of stress living through a disaster brings.