Volunteers Needed After Storm Damages Thousand Palms Neighborhood

Carmela Karcher

Water, mud and debris.

A scene Cathedral City faced months ago has now hit a small community in Thousand Palms after severe flooding swept through the area this past Friday. 

“I was sleeping and I remember at about 4 o’clock in the morning, I was feeling the water go inside the house,” Francisco Avila, a resident who lost everything in his home, shared. “I wake up and then I get out of the house and then I get inside the car…When the morning came, I see all my stuff was destroyed.”

The damage from the flooding has left at least eight families without a home for the holidays.

“All the water was inside the house and I had to go,” Avila continued.

But as they did for Tropical Storm Hilary, volunteers from all over are descending into the neighborhood to lend a helping hand.

“I live in Beaumont, so I live a half hour west of here and our building is based in Paris, but we’re pulling all of our resources from all over the area to see what we can do to help,” Home Depot Perris Campus Team Depot Captain Jeremy LeMaster said.

“They were originally hit by Hillary so a lot of the mud had already done some damage. Then the other storm that came in just exasperated that,” Team Rubicon State Administrator Kevin Kothlow explained. “It was about two feet of mud inside the house so we’re pulling the mud out and the water. We’ll be pulling out appliances because they no longer work, then we’ll be pulling out the drywall so it doesn’t start molding, and then save whatever kind of furniture that we can.”

But as another storm approaches the valley this coming week, they need all the help they can get.

“Our goal is to have all the inside of the houses cleaned and at least the entryway so they’ve got access into the homes,” Kothlow continued.

“We all know that everyone’s going to need something so we’re going to give help wherever we can,” LeMaster said.

“We got to do a lot of stuff in the house,” Avila shared. “We got to clean it up, we got to repaint it, we got to change a lot of things and that takes time.”

If you would like to volunteer, Team Rubicon and others will be out in the area cleaning up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day through Saturday at 32300 Via Eduardo.

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