Their home survived the flooding with minimal damage, but the displacement took a toll on Frank and Patricia Goris, who live in a low-lying area of St. Charles.
The couple, who have three teenagers, were forced to pay for a hotel room in St. Charles for two weeks. With Frank starting a new job after being out of work and at a rate much lower than his previous job, the extra living expenses were a burden they weren’t prepared to handle. They’d already missed payments on some bills.
In stepped the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, offering food, clothing, vouchers and more. Especially welcome was the clothing since they didn’t have all their clothes and had no funds for laundry. Assistance with water and trash bills was appreciated since their funds were depleted.
“We’re behind a lot trying to pay for hotels and things like that,” Patricia Goris said after the family moved back in to their home and began to clean the mess left by flooding. Water from an overflowing lake filled a ditch behind their mobile home, reaching the skirting on the back of the home and possibly damaging insulation. Water backing up from storm sewers reached the front of their home and damaged the stairs. The water deposited several unwanted items that floated into their yard and killed some of their grass. He’s already done a few minor repairs.
They’re on a slightly higher end of the Deerfield Village mobile home park, so the damage was minimal. While the water didn’t reach their living spaces, the Goris family had to deal with damage from a leaking air conditioner — something they didn’t catch right away because they were away.
Dr. Tom Schneider, a member of the St. Charles Borromeo Parish conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, visited the couple June 18 and sat with them in a meeting to discuss payments on the rent of their mobile home site. Schneider agreed to look for funding to help the family remain in their home and afterward he offered to assist them with prescription costs, a bicycle, truck repair, food and repairs to their home.
The Gorises like living at Deerfield Village, which they said provides a good atmosphere for their children. They work different shifts. She works for a label company on the second shift, and he works overnight at a gas station. They’ve had a few medical issues that added to their burden.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul came through when no one else they contacted could help, Patricia Goris said. “We didn’t know what to do. St. Vincent de Paul was there for us.”
Frank Goris said he made several trips through the water with a raft to remove furniture in case the flood reached the interior. On the way back to get more items he brought cases of water bottles to neighbors who were planning to stay in place.
Across the street, Camille and Doyle Bohr spent part of their day spraying their two children’s toys with a mix of water and bleach. The water was higher on their side of the street. They stayed with family members, which was difficult since they have young children. The biggest challenge was not knowing when they’d be able to return, Doyle Bohr said. “You’re out of your home, but the rest of the world still goes on.”
He reminds people that when flood victims return home their struggles continue.
In another part of St. Charles, Kate Connoyer lives in an extended stay hotel with her 7-year-old son after flooding forced them out of their rental home in Portage des Sioux, a community in northern St. Charles County along the Mississippi River. They sought to move in with a friend in St. Louis who offered them shelter, but the residence was unsuitable for the extra people. So Connoyer called the Society of St. Vincent de Paul help line at St. Charles Borromeo Parish. The parish conference had the funding to assist her.
“They even offered to help me with my car even though I didn’t ask them to,” Connoyer said. “That’s absolutely amazing of them.”
She didn’t have time to get her furniture out of the home, so she’ll have to do that first before any repairs can be made to the unit, which may have had 2-3 inches of water inside. “We’re just waiting on the water at this point,” said Connoyer, who works for the Orchard Farm School District’s before- and after-care program.
She’s especially pleased that the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers check in regularly to see how she’s doing. “It’s more than just ‘drop-off, there you go,’” she said.
Ron Cleary, a volunteer with the St. Charles Borromeo conference of the Society, said funds from donations to the St. Louis council are put to good use. “It’s a blessing for sure,” he said.
St. Charles County and other parts of the metro area, including Lincoln and Jefferson counties, are experiencing the second-highest flood levels in its history. Homes, businesses, agricultural land and public areas along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are inundated with floodwater and many area roadways are impassable. St. Charles County’s Regional Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service-St. Louis issued flood warnings for a triangular area from Highway 79 to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and Highway 370, as well as several locations along the Missouri River near Augusta, Defiance and St. Charles.
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service has been working since 1982 with families and individuals affected by disaster. The disaster recovery program expanded over the years to meet the needs of local communities as well as other parts of the nation during floods, tornadoes, fires, and even hurricanes.
The Care Service is a member of St. Charles County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD). As a first-responder, the Care Service assists in the immediate and long-term coordination of community-wide disaster efforts.
For example, the Care Service dropped off a load of cleaning supplies with the organized effort by boat to assist flood victims in Portage des Sioux, said Deacon Jack Lipin, executive director.
An area Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) is expected to be organized by the Red Cross, according to the Catholic agencies. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities and Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service will participate in the collaboration of agencies providing assistance to disaster victims. “The Catholic presence will be there,” Lipin said.
>> How to help
To make a donation for disaster relief:
• Visit www.ccstl.org/donate and choose Disaster Relief Fund from the drop-down menu.
• Or mail a check to:
Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 952393
St. Louis MO 63195-2393
may designate a specific location in the memo section, or Catholic
Charities will direct the funds to where the need is greatest.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Donations for Neighbors in Need and disaster victims are accepted by phone at (314) 881-6035 or on the nonprofit’s website, www.svdpstlouis.org/donate.
of the recent flooding who need help are encouraged to call the Society
of St. Vincent de Paul’s assistance line, 2-1-1. The assistance line is
managed by the United Way which will register persons or families
needing help and direct them to their local St. Vincent de Paul
conference for assistance.
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service
Financial donations may be made online at www.jacares.org.
Victims of flooding should refer to the website for contacts and other information.
officials state that independent collections and distribution of
donated materials without coordination will likely duplicate efforts and
take resources away from needed activities. Because of this,
unsolicited donations — specifically of clothing or other used materials
— are not currently being accepted. Check with the Care Service for
updated information on donating items.