United Way, volunteers clean up Hurricane Irma debris - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

United Way, volunteers clean up Hurricane Irma debris

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

United Way of the Coastal Empire, churches and individuals volunteered Saturday helping residents clean up debris left from Hurricane Irma.

United Way partnered with Chatham Emergency Management Agency, and set up two volunteer sites, one in Savannah and one on Tybee Island, to help those affected by the storm.

"Our hearts go out to all the people affected by Hurricane Irma, and we just want to be able to help in any way we can," Julie Cyr, vice president of resource development at United Way of the Coastal Empire, said. "The mission of United Way is to improve lives, and we do that on a daily basis through all the storms that affect people throughout the communities day after day, 365 days a year. So this is just something that comes natural." 

Volunteers worked on several homes on Lewis Avenue on Tybee Island, which saw significant flooding from Hurricane Irma. Workers cleared yard debris and removed carpet, drywall and furniture from homes. 

Chance and Jennifer Raehn, volunteers from Compassion Christian Church in Savannah, simply walked the street asking homeowners if they needed help. 

"It's just something we have a passion for- to help people whatever the crisis." Chance said. "We went to Albany earlier in the year when they had the tornadoes. We had a team from the church go out there, so it's just something we feel like we're called to do as followers of Christ is to help people in need."

Raehn said 20 to 30 church members split into smaller groups and worked in different places across the island, and everyone was thankful for the extra help.

"They try to give us anything they have," Chance said. "Cold water, the last bit of a meal they had from this morning, so they're just very grateful."

Cyr said that kind of passion for helping others and the willingness to step up show the good that can come from devastation.

"I just think that it's a tremendous opportunity for the community to band together, and we are strong," she said. "So I know we're going to get back, and we're going to be strong. And we're going to get through this."

Homeowners who need assistance, volunteers who would like to sign up to work or anyone who would like to make a monetary donation to United Way to help with relief efforts can do so on the organization's website.

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