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Red Cross volunteers on mission of mercy in WNC

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Red Cross volunteers were driving around Black Mountain on Monday, delivering everything from cleaning kits, to tarps, to bottled water and even snacks for the kids. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Last week's storms left behind mud, debris and a trail of people in need of help.

The Red Cross hit the road in Buncombe and McDowell counties Monday, delivering what people need.

Flood waters have been receding, allowing better access to the areas hit hardest -- like the Portman Villa mobile home park in Black Mountain.

"The water was so high then, it was trying to wash our legs out from under us," said John McMahan, whose home was badly damaged.

That's where one of the Red Cross crews focused its deliveries much of Monday.

The white pickup truck with all the red crosses has become a familiar sight. Volunteers were driving around, delivering everything from cleaning kits, to tarps, to bottled water and even snacks for the kids.

This multicounty relief effort is staffed by volunteers who often have to interact with people during the worst of times.

"This is why we do what we do. It's because we know they're in need, and, if we can help in any sort of way, that's a good feeling. It does break your heart your heart sometimes, it really does," Red Cross volunteer Sherry Dobbins said.

Water has been the big ticket item for folks in the Black Mountain area, where a boil order was lifted Monday morning. But residents said even though the water might be safe, it tastes awful.

The residents said they appreciate the Red Cross having stuck with them during this tough time.

"They're really a big help, I mean, seriously, they are. I thanked them for coming in here and helping people," Black Mountain resident Cynthia Lopez said.

As for McMahan, he has his own take on it all.

"It's nice of them, but I don't care if I ever see them again, because I don't want to go through this again," he said with a laugh.

The Red Cross on Monday announced a shift in its approach to relief efforts, a change that will affect the deliveries of supplies. Volunteers plan to turn their attention to working with families impacted by the floods and mudslides one-on-one.

Trained caseworkers will go door-to-door to homes that have been assessed as having major damage to assist them with individualized recovery plans.

Click here or call 828-333-9918 to request an assessment.

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