Less than two years ago, residents donated time, money and supplies to support a beloved city damaged by a storm. On Monday, they were at it again to support victims of last night’s devastating flood in historic Ellicott City.
In Columbia, Hysteria Brewing Co. held a fundraiser for flood relief, pledging to donate 50 percent of its profits to the Ellicott City Partnership. The brewery, which opened last year, announced last night it would hold the fundraiser. Within 90 minutes, Marketing and Events Manager Gina Mattera said 1,000 people were “interested” on Facebook.
“Ellicott City, they’re our neighbors, they’re small business owners just like us, and seeing them go through this not only on its own but for a second time, we had to help,” Mattera said.
The brewery was scheduled to be open on the holiday today, so Mattera said she decided she wanted to “make it count.” They hope to raise $5,000 for the Partnership today.
Evelyn Glass, 7, and her sister Vivienne, 4, set up their first lemonade stand outside the brewery. Evelyn said she saw her mom, Anne Glass, watch the flood unfold online yesterday and wanted to do something to help.
After Evelyn came up with the idea last night, Anne Glass said she reached out to Hysteria, which was on board with the idea, and then called the Harris Teeter grocery store in Marriottsville to ask if they’d be open on Memorial Day to buy the supplies. The store donated lemons.
Residents who turned out at Hysteria expressed heartache over watching Ellicott City suffer so soon from disaster. Megan McKernan was there with her husband, Brian, and daughter Brynne; McKernan grew up in Ellicott City and said she still frequents the area.
“I was devastated, this literally just happened,” McKernan said. “We were in tears, that’s our home. It breaks my heart, I mean how do you come back from that? Part of my home is just gone.”
Hours earlier, McKernan dropped off bottled water at the Howard County food bank, which was scheduled to be closed Memorial Day but opened iat 10 a.m. to collect food and supplies.
Within 40 minutes, the food bank had collected over more than 4,500 pounds of food, water and cleaning supplies.
People drove in from across the region to deliver donations.
“It could have been me,” said Ryan Miller, of Hagerstown, who delivered bottled water. “Every little bit helps.”
Parents brought their children along to help unload donations.
“We love Old Ellicott City and I think that this is a teaching moment for my kids,” said Megan Mason, who brought her son Zachary, 8, and donated cleaning supplies. “You feel bad about what happened but then you get up the next day and you actually do something about it.”
Former Howard County Councilwoman Courtney Watson and her siblings were among volunteers Monday morning collecting the donations, along with Councilman Calvin Ball and Margaret Weinstein, wife of Councilman Jon Weinstein of Ellicott City.In 2016, Watson collected donations in her garage. This time, she and others worked with the Community Action Council, which runs the food bank, to organize donations.
Lori McDermott owns Southwest Connection on Main Street and volunteered this morning with her daughter Kylie. Yesterday, Kylie and McDermott’s husband Steve were trapped for hours in a vacant apartment above the store waiting for rescue from the rising waters.
Today, Kylie and Lori were ready to help. Lori said they’ve volunteered there ever since 2016, when they received help from the food bank after the 2016 flood.
“I can’t believe this is happening to us again and we don’t understand why,” Lori McDermott said. “We all picked back up. It took every ounce of strength, every ounce financially for all of our stores to come back — and now we all are worse off, we have nothing, there’s just nothing left.”
After the 2016 flood, the McDermotts moved their shop’s spot on Main Street, hoping to protect it against possible future damage. Now, Lori isn’t sure they’ll reopen.
“It’s worse than it was two years ago. There’s more devastation than there was two years ago,” she said. “We all took loans out to come back, we still have to pay these loans back, and we have no income. I don’t know what anybody’s going to do at this point. It’s not going to come back like it did, that’s for sure.”
Still, Lori McDermott praised the support of the community.
“Everyone here was just so wonderful in helping us to get back on our feet at the time,” she said. “So now we’re here this morning just to try to put a face to what’s happening in Ellicott City and to thank the volunteers and the people who are showing up with supplies, just how grateful we are.”
Additional fundraisers continue to pop up on social media. Heavy Seas Beer, a brewery and taproom in Halethorpe, announced it will hold a fundraiser on June 7, donating 50 percent of proceeds to the Ellicott City Partnership, and for the third year, the EC Strong5K will also benefit the partnership, now to support the 2016 and 2018 floods.