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Local Recovery A Team Effort

Ann Thompson

People affected by Sunday's flash flooding can turn to several different agencies for help, and those organizations are working together. Larry Shields with St. Vincent De Paul says it's a team effort.

"Matthew 25: (Ministries) is on the ground today handing out supplies. The Red Cross was there the night of the disaster handling that immediate need. We are the next step in that process. As people find out what they need, we hope that we can be there for our neighbors," Shields says.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Red Cross reported 150 calls for assistance since Monday. Spokesman Skip Tate says most of those calls were referred to a partner agency. The Red Cross has identified about 25 cases where a home was unlivable.

St. Vincent De Paul's Larry Shields says his organization is focused on replacing clothing, furniture, and household items.

"We recognize at this stage of this disaster that people are still trying to assess what they have. They're working on cleaning up what they have and figuring out what their next step is going to be. We want people to know that we're there for that next step."

Local charities often make requests to help disaster victims across the country. But with the flooding in Norwood, St. Bernard and several Cincinnati neighborhoods, those agencies are helping people closer to home.

Shields says they're used to providing disaster relief wherever it's needed.

"We were active during the (Hurricane) Katrina situation years ago. We helped out with tornadoes in Oklahoma. That's something where we wanted to come to the aid of our partner councils in those neighborhoods and those cities. In a situation like this, we recognize that we have neighbors in need in our very backyard who need our help, and we are happy to serve them and make sure we can be there for them," he says.

The Red Cross was on the scene helping people Sunday night, and Matthew 25: Ministries has been assisting with the clean-up.

Shields says the groups are still getting a handle on how many people will qualify for vouchers.

The Red Cross reports five people stayed at an emergency shelter Monday night, and only three on Tuesday night. Spokesman Skip Tate says 12 people came in for a meal but spent the night elsewhere. He says most people are staying with friends or relatives or in another temporary facility.

Matthew 25: Ministries has set up distribution centers for people affected by flood waters. The disaster response team will hand out personal care kits, cleaning supplies, paper products, and bottled water from noon to 6 p.m. through Friday at the Norwood Kroger and the Greater New Light Baptist Church in North Avondale.

Cincinnati's Department of Public Services is offering special pick-up of flooding trash and debris to residents of Avondale, North Avondale, Bond Hill, Evanston, Hyde Park, Oakley, and Paddock Hills.

Storm debris should be placed in bags or trash carts, not recycling containers or cardboard boxes. 

Collections can be scheduled through the Fix it Cincy! mobile app, online at, or by calling the city at (513) 591-6000.

Rumpke will send extra garbage trucks through Norwood to collect flood-damaged items.

"We understand the daunting task many of our customers have ahead of them as they clean-up from Sunday’s storm," says Dean Ferrier, Rumpke's municipal representative.

People in Norwood are encouraged to put items at the curb for pickup. Items left in an alley will not be collected.

And there are some restrictions from Rumpke:

  • Wood must be cut in lengths smaller than 4 feet
  • Dry wall must be double-bagged or in a can
  • Bags/cans must weigh 50 pounds or less
  • Mattresses/box springs should be folded in half and tied with rope or string
  • Carpet must be rolled and tied in sections no longer than 4 feet

Rumpke will not accept any of the following items:

  • Hazardous material
  • Liquids (including paint)
  • Tires
  • Items containing Freon
Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.