The unpredictable weather this month has beset St. James with snowfall coating the ground March 6 and recent relentless rain causing flooding, making the presentation in early March at the St. James City Council meeting by Show Me Hope a fitting option for people within the community afflicted by unforeseen weather in need of free support.

Show Me Hope, an organization in partnership with Compass Health network in Phelps County, offers free natural disaster crisis counseling and public education through companies, civic organizations and schools to help people prepare for circumstances beyond their control; namely, flooding, strong winds, tornadoes and “just bad weather in general,” according to director and disaster crisis manager for Show Me Hope, Constance Hoffman

“When a flood hits, a lot of people lose their home, their pets, and miss time from work, which brings a lot of anxiety and fear,” said Hoffman. “Our goal is to help people be ready, and let people know there are things they can do to prepare themselves if a flood happens again.”

In the most recent 2016 report from the Official Missouri State Website, Mo.Gov, “flooding killed 27 people in Missouri, more than the previous seven years combined and the highest total since 1993.” Incidentally, flash flooding was the leading cause of deaths with more than half of the people killed during floods while in their vehicles.

The National Weather Service reinforces the government data, articulating that most flood deaths occur in vehicles; therefore, Hoffman feels it is her duty to equip the community with educational material for adults and children at no expense.

“We are helping people to get ready, to get their homes in order, to get their materials in order, to have a meeting spot if they can’t connect to their family and are separated,” expressed Hoffman.

Show Me Hope also connects survivors with other individuals and agencies that can help in the recovery process, with the purpose to reduce stress and provide the emotional support for people struggling with emotions or debilitating memories due to being inflicted by unforeseen elements, according to the programs mission statement.

“We want to save as many lives as we can,” conveyed Hoffman. “If we can save one person’s life by being prepared, that is our goal.”