DORI MONSON

Dori: Spirit on display during Whatcom County flooding — what you can do to help

Nov 22, 2021, 9:56 AM | Updated: 2:21 pm
Flooding, Whatcom County...
Flooding in the Everson area in Whatcom County. (Whatcom County Sheriff's Office, Twitter)
(Whatcom County Sheriff's Office, Twitter)

For a week now, we have been watching the images of the awful flooding that has hit parts of Western Washington – but a number of communities have risen up to help each other.

In Seattle, you might not see this kind of response, but in more rural parts of Washington state, community is alive and well. I watched a YouTube video of Mike Scholten of Scholten’s Equipment Inc., in Lynden who hopped onto one of his company’s tractors and ventured into the rising waters, looking for people to help.

Between roads that were washed out, a bridge on the verge of collapse, and hidden ditches that could have flipped his tractor, Scholten and other colleagues told harrowing stories with a positive attitude.

Whatcom County resident recounts having to leave home by boat amid devastating flood

Hear what motivated Scholten and others to go into rising flood waters and what they faced when they got to Sumas – one of the hardest hit areas in Whatcom County:

As we approach Thanksgiving, each of us has things we are grateful for. If you are inspired by the courage of the flood victims, and those who either rescued them or are providing post-disaster support, consider these ways you can share some of the spirit of Whatcom County.

“With trauma situations, everybody wants to help right now,” said Megan Taylor of North County Christ the King Church in Lynden.

The church has been serving as a shelter for some of those displaced by the floods.

“What many people don’t understand is that this is going to go on for some time,” Taylor said.

That’s why, in the last 24 hours, a grassroots consortium of Whatcom County churches, businesses, and community leaders has announced it will debut “whatcomstrong.com.” Updated needs for donations are posted there. The site – along with its Instagram (@whatcomstrong) and soon-to-debut Facebook page – includes details for donating.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center (at 1775 Front Street in Lynden) is the centralized collection and distribution site.

“Right now, we can get food and water,” said Dan Vander Kooi, president of Manna Insurance, which is one of several organizations that has been handling short-term response. “As we get down the road and have to start rebuilding, we need to have money to go to local lumber yards. We need cash to buy supplies in bulk. We’re going to have to help people who didn’t have flood insurance because they weren’t in the flood plan.”

From Everson, Nooksack, and Sumas, to Ferndale, Bellingham, Lynden, and beyond, “it’s a generous area that we live in,” Vander Kooi said. “But if people from the state or around the country want to help, Whatcom Strong is a great resource.”

Meanwhile, here are three other organizations that are currently accepting financial donations:

American Red Cross: Get Help: Northwest | American Red Cross

North County Christ the King Church in Lynden: Click “giving” and choose “care ministry” under giving type for financial donations. It will go to anything flood-related, says NCCKC’s Megan Taylor, including “clean-up, housing for those without flood insurances — or something as simple as toothbrushes or even cars.”

Whatcom Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund, where Puget Sound Energy is matching donations up to $115,000 for response and long-term recovery.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Spirit on display during Whatcom County flooding — what you can do to help