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International Relief Group: Samaritan's Purse in Pensacola to help flood victims

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - More help is on the way for area families.

This time it is from volunteers from Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a faith-based non-profit that offer's help to families affected by a natural disaster.  

An organization spokesperson says their members have helped nearly 28,000 families affected by the flood. 

Todd Taylor, the Assistant Manager of US Disaster Relief for the organization say their volunteers got into town over the weekend and began hitting the communities Monday.

"To hear the stories of how 26- to 28-inches fell in 24-hours people were in shock," Taylor said. "It was just as quick as other major destructive events and we know they're hurting." 

Taylor says they have about 20 volunteers in town Wednesday, but they can expect more than a hundred.  

The local efforts are headquartered outside the Myrtle Grove Baptist Church. They have nearly a hundred homes they plan to visit in the area. 

On Wednesday, volunteers with Samaritan's Purse were working to tear apart a home on Escondita's Place.  The home belonged to Norma McKinney. 

"We've lost all the bedroom furniture, living room furniture, the cabinets," she said, "the list just goes on and on and it's going to be a hard road to recovery." 

McKinney says she's thankful for the volunteers, who have spent hours tearing up the walls and helping them throw out debris.

"These guys came in here and started pulling out the sheetrock, and cabinets," said Mckinney's daughter, Brandy McDonald.  "I don't know how to do this kind of stuff." 

One of the volunteers, Joe Lenhard, is from Buffalo, New York. Lenhard has a computer business back home, but says volunteer work is his type of passion. "I love people," he said. "I love being able to help people who feel like they're  in a desperate situation. 

Taylor says volunteers will be in town for as long as they are needed. Samaritan's Purse has been on the ground after several natural disasters including Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.  They've also helped after several catastrophes overseas like Typhoon Haitian, which pounded the Philippines. Taylor also say they have volunteers currently helping communities in parts of the country that were devastated by tornadoes. 

The local number for Samaritan's Purse is (850) 529-0876.  You can call if you need help or if you would like to volunteer.