PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) — A nonprofit organization in Portland just shut its doors because of flooding.
On Christmas Eve, Portland C.A.R.E.S. received an unexpected phone call with bad news.
“I get here, the fire department is already here, and we had a sprinkler head that froze and busted right at our front door, flooding our entire building. When I got here and stepped in the front door, it was about two inches of water that I stepped in at that point,” Penny Martin, Executive Director of Portland C.A.R.E.S. said.
Penny said she spent most of her Christmas vacation dealing with all of the mess, wondering how she will serve her community.
“What we say we actually do for the community is provide food, clothing, rent, utilities, and prescription medicines. Our service area includes residents in Portland, Westmoreland, Bethpage, and Cottentown,” Penny said.
The nonprofit also runs a thrift store to help raise funds for their benevolence services mentioned above.
All the donated merchandise is now a complete loss after the water damaged it.
“You can see behind me, you’ve seen it yourself, it’s a real mess. Insulation from ceiling, tiles, all of that will have to be replaced,” Penny said.
Now, the organization is closed until they can get the building dried out and restoration started. Penny believes they won’t fully open for at least two to three weeks.
“Right now, I have no idea for sure what kind of monetary loss we’re looking at. My major concern was getting the building back in order and getting back into business for the community. I feel like we are a community organization, and I don’t want to be down any more than we have to,” Penny said.
According to Penny, almost everything is a total loss inside, except donations they had in the back, which were not impacted by the flooding.
“Staff and volunteers are in the building today, trying to empty the thrift store. We do have to get all new flooring in the thrift store because it stayed underwater for a little bit of time,” Penny said.
While it’s difficult right now, Penny said they will get through this and eventually, once again serve residents in need.
“What seems to be like little small things, would be small things to everybody else, but when you start adding them up, it becomes really big things in here, just because we know our customers. The donors are our lifeline, but the customers buying the stuff…it’s also our lifeline because making the money is how we survive,” Penny said.