Natural disasters are a way of life for Sherry Buresh (burr-ESH). The Director of the Christian Appalachian Project’s Disaster Relief program and hundreds of volunteers have had a very busy 2011. Sherry Buresh founded the disaster relief program in 2003 to assist victims of flash flooding in eastern Kentucky. Since then, they’ve offered assistance as far away as New York and in most of the 13 Appalachian states.
“We’ve done ice storms, wind storms, floods, flash flooding, micro bursts. We’ve done hurricanes, we’ve done tornadoes. You name it. If it’s a natural disaster pretty much then we’ve responded to it,” said Buresh.
Commonly, Buresh says they clean-up after a disaster…doing everything from debris removal to mucking out homes. But, she says they also adapt to the most pressing needs. For example, in Tennessee they offered child care. While relief crews have most recently traveled to Alabama and Missouri to help with tornado relief work, Buresh says much time is spent inside the Commonwealth.
“Kentucky keeps up busy. As a matter of fact, last year I believe it was we never got out of the state. We responded to six disasters right here in the state of Kentucky and Kentucky has had its fair share lately of disasters,” added Buresh.
Volunteers must be at least 18, and will need to pay their travel expenses. Sometimes, Buresh says a volunteer can catch a ride with organizers.
“But once they’re with us, we provide the food and of course, I set up lodging where ever. We’ve stayed in tents before, but we’ve slept in tents and churches and warehouses or where ever,” said Buresh.
Buresh says all that’s asked is to show up and use one’s hands and feet to reflect the love of God.