MARYVILLE, Mo. — It's going to be a long, hard slog to rebuild the ruined homes, farms and businesses destroyed in a catastrophic flood that recently struck Atchison and Holt counties.

But the First United Church of Maryville, together with scores of volunteers and donors from across the Maryville area — and even other states — are doing their best to reassure those who lost everything to raging, muddy water that they are not forgotten or facing the aftermath of disaster alone.

In just a week after FUMC Worship Director Chris Komorech put the word out, the church received scores of in-kind donations for “flood buckets,” sealed, 5-gallon plastic containers filled with about $75 of cleaning supplies and other items needed by those faced with reclaiming flood-scarred property and belongings.

In addition, the effort netted about $7,000 in cash, which was used by the church to plug material gaps — everything from gloves and protective masks to detergent and heavy-duty scrubbing pads — not filled by the in-kind collection.

On March 27, church youth assembled dozens of the buckets, adding to the total already shipped to the flood zone a day or two earlier. 

Altogether, more than 100 cleaning kits are being delivered to the First United Methodist Church of Rock Port, which is helping coordinate recovery efforts in the flood-stricken area itself.

Komorech said he was pleased, and more than a little surprised, by both the volume of donations and the speed at which givers responded.

“I thought we might be able to put together 20 or so buckets,” he said. “But people just came from everywhere with their generosity and their goodness.”

Aside from local donations, cash has arrived from other parts of Missouri as well, along with donations from states as far away as Louisiana and North Carolina.

Beyond the flood bucket initiative, Komorech said he is working interdenominationally with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to assemble teams of volunteers that will provide hands-on, boots-on-the-ground assistance in flood-ravaged areas.

“We're going to support those communities to the best of our ability for as long as we can,” he said.

Donations of cash and material are still being accepted by FUMC. Anyone interested in helping out should call the church office Sunday through Thursday at 660-582-4821. 

Mail checks in care First United Church of Maryville, 102 N. Main St., Maryville, MO, 64468. The check's subject line should contain the phrase “flood buckets.”

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Staff writer Anthony Brown can be reached at tbrown@maryvilledailyforum.com or by calling the newspaper at 660.562.2424.