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Owsley County flood victims cleaning up, need donations

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:35:11-05

OWSLEY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's all hands on deck in Owsley County where homes and businesses are still drying out from last week's historic flood.

In Booneville, the local Shopwise grocery store was hit hard.

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"It was as if a surge of water came through because really heavy things were washed from the back of the store to the front of the store," Shopwise store owner Julie Patton said.

Patton said all the perishable food had to be tossed, and it doesn't stop there.

"The health department is saying that because of the splashing that we're probably going to have to get rid of everything," Patton said.

She said the store will be closed for at least another couple of weeks. It's a harsh reality for those in the area, especially those without transportation because it's the only grocery store within 10 miles.

Patton is one of many flood victims in the area and several donation centers are ready to help those like her.

Owsley County Public Library Director Lesa Marcum is helping to run one of those centers out of the library.

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She said people from all over have been bringing in donations, even some flood victims themselves.

"We have been blessed tremendously," Marcum said about all the support.

A group from Camp Hero even drove about 100 miles to deliver about 11,000 water bottles.

Commonwealth Credit Union bought the water and wanted to donate it to flood victims but didn't know how to get the water to Owsley County. That's when Camp Hero stepped in to make the delivery. The founder and director of the nonprofit, Rocco Besednjak, said some of the first bottles went to volunteers who helped clean mud out of homes.

"This is gonna help out a lot as far as helping refresh them," Besednjak said. "Get them clean water. Get them something to drink. Help take care of them since they're here to help take care of the City."

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Beyond water, there is an urgent need for building supplies, cleaning supplies, and gift cards.

Donations can also be dropped off at other centers like the Emma McGuire Mission, the Owsley County Action Team, and the Owsley County Methodist Church Life Center.

Anyone who cannot make it to Owsley County can donate online here.