(WFXR) — Both Liberty University and Virginia Tech have agreed to send teams to help with the recovery in Kentucky after the disastrous flooding that occurred there recently.

Liberty University says LU Serve Now deployed six students and two leads to Jackson, Kentucky on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 31 to offer aid to those whose lives have been altered by the catastrophic flooding.

“They’re just so appreciative that people would just take a week out to come and just help them, to serve them certainly physically, but to serve them spiritually and emotionally, as well, and I just find that people are tremendously encouraged by that, a breath of fresh air if you will,” said Chad Nelson, LU Serve’s program director.

LU Serve Now is Liberty University’s quick response team for disaster relief and humanitarian needs. The program has sent students worldwide to offer aid and assistance to those in need, with Nelson saying the work these students are doing can make a huge difference for those affected by disasters.

According to Nelson, the participants in LU Serve Now will be working to clear out mud and debris from homes and offering both physical and emotional support for those impacted.

Nelson tells WFXR News that the LU Serve crew will return to Lynchburg from their Kackson mission trip on Sunday, Sept. 4, but another team from LU Serve will be deployed to Mayfield, Kentucky in early October to help rebuild homes that were destroyed by a tornado in December 2021.

The Hokies will also be pitching in this weekend as students enrolled in Virginia Tech’s societal health class visit Letcher County, Kentucky — which is where the worst of the late July flooding took place — on Friday, Sept. 2, officials say.

“The way to reach students is to give them real-world opportunities to help them see what’s at stake in the classroom learning,” said Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech, who is co-teaching the course. “My other hope is that they can grapple with the relationship between the history of fossil fuel extraction in Appalachia and climate change — both the way that the fossil fuel industry causes and accelerates climate change, but also the extreme, extra vulnerability of fossil fuel communities.”

The community service project is part of these Virginia Tech students’ course, which is designed to examine the importance of social movements and mutual aid for collective well-being. This work will give them a live look at those issues and how impacted they are by natural disasters, according to the university.

While in Kentucky, Virginia Tech tells WFXR News that the students will spend time mucking out houses, preparing food, organizing supplies for the community, and helping with an Appalachian Roots Benefit Concert for flood relief.

“I’m really grateful she [organizer] was able to put this all together to allow students to engage with the community and benefit people in a more tangible, direct, and immediate way than research does sometimes,” said Daniel Gizzard, a Virginia Tech graduate student.

“I could think of nothing better than a quilting to demonstrate our commitment to collective action and mutual aid, which are both longstanding values in the mountains,” said Danille Christensen, Virginia Tech assistant professor in the Department of Religion and Culture who is helping to contribute quilts to the victims of the flooding.

Funding for this team of Hokies came from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies, the university says. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will also be joining the humanitarian effort, adding 11 extra volunteers with experience ranging from CPR and first aid to disaster relief and construction.

Trip organizers are reportedly raising money for the Holler to Holler project, which includes purchasing supplies requested by community partners, protective gear for volunteers, and an additional $5,000 to purchase a trailer for a family whose home washed away.