Community Intervention in Lynchburg Hoarding Case
Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Steven Smith
Lynchburg, VA - Help keeps pouring in for the family in Lynchburg that's made of chronic hoarders. There's still a long way to go, but things are coming along.
The Liberty University Campus Serve Team was there Wednesday along with a slew of other volunteers, and 19 large dumpsters have been filled.
The original story captured a lot of attention from the community, and as a result people and organizations are now stepping in to help.
"It's been a really fun experience so far and I'm glad I can be helping others by doing this," said Elisa Cooper, a volunteer and LU student.
About 30 students from LU spent part of their spring break helping a family they have never met.
"I'm just happy to help. This family, they need the help," said student Tim Shafer.
Through all the clutter, they have found all kinds of stuff.
"Sean found a book the other day that was about how to organize your house," Cooper said.
"There was a little picture of Jesus, and it's just another confirmation that he's all over this," volunteer Karen Martin said.
Him and several people in the community who have now joined forces.
"I have scheduled a luncheon meeting with their family, and then we can talk about this one," said Jason Song from TRBC's Korean Church. "We have to make them stop. No more old style life, new life."
"A mental health services has stepped up and said they would discuss with us the opportunities that we could partner with them to get the family some mental health services," lead volunteer Heather O'Hara said.
"We don't want to leave this family and say put them off on a psychiatrist and say, 'Here he is to help you,' and abandon them completely. We want to make sure no matter how long it takes we can help out," said Sean Dennerlein, LU Campus Serve co-director. "Our team personally will be here checking up on them."
The family has until next Sunday to get all the trash removed, and by the looks of things, they are well on their way. LU's Campus Serve and other churches in the community say they plan to minister to this family.
Meanwhile, the community continues to step in.
"As soon as we get everything out of the house, Dodson said they'd come in and definitely spray," O'Hara said.
Lynchburg has also donated a free dumpster, and Beasley Disposal Inc. has reduced its rate for the group. Foster Builder in Forest has donated a bulldozer to clean up the remaining mess outside in the backyard.
Those helping have made contact with the family that's staying at Lynchburg's Salvation Army. The city says the family is not allowed back on the property yet, but hopefully they will be back in within two weeks. Teams will continue cleaning until all the work is done.