Almost like a page out of the story of Noah — rains came down, Turkey Creek came up, way up, with blackflow from Lake Taneycomo, and the HopeCenter went under.
Not entirely, but with four feet of water inside the building, the damage was significant to the food and clothing ministry located at Turkey Creek Junction in Hollister.
“This was unexpected. Everyone was saying it won’t happen again. The Army Corps of Engineers said floods won’t happen again like the 2011 flood,” said Outreach Coordinator Jane Rucker.
Rucker said business owners in the Turkey Creek Junction complex near where the creek empties into Lake Taneycomo, including HopeCenter staff, went in the night before and thought they had things in order by stacking equipment off the floor.
“They raised everything as high as they could but the water was four feet high. Nobody expected that until about an hour before,” Rucker said.
Supernatural Life Church, which operates HopeCenter, had just moved into the complex two weeks earlier and lost a keyboard and sound board in the flood.
SLC Pastor Kylie Gatewood, who doubles as HopeCenter director, posted an online message Jan. 2, exemplifying the organization’s determination to continue their community ministry.
“While looking for a new location and believing for new equipment, nothing can stop us from gathering together,” Gatewood said. “We have a job to do. We must reach the hurting. We must introduce them to love by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Yet, along with the exercise of faith, Rucker acknowledges the HopeCenter needs hands-on help in the natural realm.
“The recent unprecedented flood levels put four feet of water into our building, stopping us cold,” Rucker said. “At a time when we are always so very busy helping others, we have found ourselves in need of help ourselves.”
According to Rucker, several things need to happen in order for the reopening to take place. The HopeCenter is seeking new kitchen equipment, a freezer and two refrigerators.
Rucker said one desk has been donated but some office furniture and other items also need to be replaced.
Food drives or non-perishable food donations are needed to restock the food pantry.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the clean-up and rebuilding process.
Financial donations are needed.
The HopeCenter may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 417-598-0304. Progress can be followed on HopeCenter Branson’s Facebook page.
Those wanting to make a financial donation, may write The HopeCenter at PO Box 675, Branson, MO 65615. Online donations are also being accepted at millerhopecenter.org.
“Donations, support and prayers are all greatly appreciated,” Rucker said, while expressing gratitude for help the HopeCenter has already received.
“Some extremely big-hearted and selfless people came together to clear away the flood mess and save what could be saved.” she said. “A huge thanks to all who helped Jan. 6 in spite of the cold winter weather and the freezing, cold dankness of the building and most of its contents.
“We will be back open as quickly as possible to serve our wonderful community again,” Rucker said. “Our temporary absence leaves a strongly-felt hole in this area. It is a hole we will not leave empty.”