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Breathitt County families turn to elementary school for help

MRC elementary.jpg
Posted at 7:39 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 10:34:43-04

LOST CREEK, Ky. (LEX 18) — Thousands of people are still without power in Eastern Kentucky, after last week's devastating floods.

Some of those families are in Lost Creek and other areas of Breathitt County, which is one of the hardest hit counties.

Lisa and John Campbell told LEX 18 they have been without power since they had to flee rising floodwaters. Standing in an elementary school gym, the Campbells recounted the last several arduous days.

"We grabbed the kids and waded through water that was about waist deep," Lisa Campbell said.

They returned to their home days later, only to be told they had to evacuate again due to fear of a dam breaking.

"My main priority is get my family out of there and keep them safe," John Campbell said.

The Campbells said they had an uncomfortable experience at a shelter in Wolfe County, so they returned to their home in Lost Creek Tuesday.

"We burn up at night," Lisa said. "Hunger is an issue."

To alleviate their hunger, the Campbells walked through Marie Roberts-Caney Elementary School to collect canned goods that had been donated.

In addition to food, clothes and toiletries lined the hallways in the elementary school.

"We call ourselves the 'MRC Family,'" said Jason Fugate, the principal. "It feels like a family, so people feel good coming here."

Last week, Fugate was preparing for the start of the school year. This week, he is overseeing a cooling center that is also serving as a donation hub.

"I would just characterize it as a place that you can come, feel at home, know that people care about you and we're gonna try to help you," Fugate said.

Fugate said he believes that out of the 250 students at the school, about 100 have been seriously affected by the floods.

"They're just the best kids," Fugate said. "And just to see what they're going through, they don't have anything. That's why we want to do stuff for them."

The Campbells, who happen to live on the same street as Fugate, said they're grateful for the support pouring in from across the country.

"I've cried so much," Lisa said, her voice breaking. "Not for myself, but for everybody else."