Volunteers help evacuees, pets in flooding crisis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Volunteers help evacuees, pets in flooding crisis

(WMC-TV) - The lives of 367 evacuees at shelters were upside down Saturday night.

Cummings Street Baptist Church shelter volunteers like Shaunne Baker and Clara Wells worked around the clock to try and make evacuees feel at home.

"You're talking about 12 to 14 hours a day," said Wells.

"Twelve to 14 hours when I'm not working at my other job," added Baker.

Baker said grace helped her through it.

"I do it because it could have been me," said Baker.  "If I was in that situation, I would want someone to lend a hand to me, so I lend a hand."

Wells said some in the shelter appeared to be stressed.

"A lot of men seem to be stressed, because they're providers," she said.  "They're used to providing for their family."

For a moment Saturday, there was a break from reality as the Memphis Grizzlies began to make a comeback.

"I was running back and forth trying to watch the basketball game, screaming, 'pastor, I'm sorry,'" said Baker.

Baker said she finally got to watch the last two minutes of overtime alongside shelter victims on a screen donated by the Grizzlies.

"It was kind of great to watch the game on the big TV," she said.

But the break from reality was only temporary.

"Then you get the phone call you have more families coming in," said Baker.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Cummings Street Baptist Church shelter, call 901-332-5492.

While emergency responders take care of people impacted by flooding, the ASPCA is taking care of their pets.

Animal response teams have been getting calls from pet owners and neighbors with reports of animals in distress.

Saturday afternoon, rescue crews responded to a call from a Northaven neighborhood of two cats stranded in the floodwaters.  Crews rescued the animals and brought them to safety.

"We've really been planning and preparing the emergency shelter and getting it ready," said Joel Lopez with the ASPCA.  "Rescue operations ... started about two days ago and are really picking up as of yesterday."

Lopez said the two female cats were scared, wet and pregnant but seemed to be in good health.

The ASPCA urged flood victims to plan ahead and drop off their pets at the emergency shelter if they anticipate having to evacuate.

You can drop off your pets at the emergency animal shelter located at 1716 North Shelby Oaks Drive.  For pet owners who need information, call 901-324-8799.

The ASPCA asked that donations be dropped off at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County at 935 Farm Road in Memphis.  Their number is 901-937-3900.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office asked everyone to stay away from flooded areas, even if you are in your own boat.  By entering flooded areas, you are placing yourself in danger and are potentially creating more work for already busy law enforcement officers.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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