Howard County residents have been working together to help those still in need after the Ellicott City flood. This includes the help of charitable organizations like Marriottsville-based Lunch with a Purpose.
The group began as a volunteer-run program that worked to provide aid to residents and direct volunteers to worthwhile charities, but it has now expanded into so much more. The program has received more than 1,000 items and donations ever since word of their service spread.
Lunch with a Purpose works hard to represent the ideals of Howard County residents. According to their website, the group hopes “to change the world one hour at a time, by empowering volunteers to make a difference where they’re at, with what they have.”
After the flood, Maryland officials were unclear on their plan for the future when it came to volunteers, but Lunch with a Purpose is an exceptional example of how volunteers have acted on their own to give what they can. Close to 3,000 people have offered their aid to Howard County, many of which have been allowed to go to specific areas of the town to help.
The damage spread farther than many realized. “I know of a couple of families who live on the outskirts of the city and were still affected by the flood,” described senior Adam Jacobson.
Ellicott City homeowner Russell Phillips remarked, “I had been downtown earlier in the day. It’s shocking to realize it can be gone so suddenly.”
The flood damaged more than 200 buildings and swept away about as many vehicles. There were two tragic deaths at the hands of the flood. People worked together to stay safe from the flood, either by bringing others into the shelter of restaurants or by creating human chains to reach those caught in the raging waters.
Workers and government officials have been trying to rebuild the historic town, as well as reach for aid from many sources. The Maryland Board of Public Works has already provided $2.5 million to help the small businesses and residents recover by providing funds to relocate or rebuild.
The area still remains precarious, with hazards laying everywhere and buildings that could prove to be unstable. Over 220 residents have already been escorted to the area, where they were able to recover personal items, but some were restricted due to the threat of the unstable structures. Several organizations have already offered their hand and have been collecting funds, volunteers and supplies to help both the reconstruction effort and the devastated families left without homes.
Exactly one month after the flood, on August 30, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman held a press conference to announce that Preservation Maryland would open a Preservation Resources Center to “direct preservation assistance to historic property owners,” he said.
Anyone who is able and willing to help the recovery effort is encouraged to seek out the Maryland Historical Trust, where anyone can volunteer their service and offer shelter, food or other supplies to families in need. Governor Larry Hogan extended the state of emergency to September 20, deeming it wiser to maintain a safe approach to the difficult situation.
Although Howard County remains vigilant in their efforts, there is still much work to be done to restore the town, businesses and families to their original state. Ellicott City has recovered from floods and other disasters countless times, and government officials and residents remain confident that this will be no different.