Savannah Smiles Foundations looks to recover after a broken pipe floods their headquarters
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The New Year is bringing major Challenges for a Southern Indiana non-profit after a broken pipe destroyed their headquarters.
Now, the organization is wondering how they’re going make it through 2023.
A week before Christmas, WAVE News was at the Savannah Smiles Foundation Headquarters documenting how they and Bobby’s Bikes were giving kids healing from trauma, a Christmas they will never forget.
And thanks to a busted pipe, they no longer have a place to hosts their kids and say they may be months away from running as normal again.
The scene on December 17, 2022 at the Savannah Smiles Foundation Christmas Party was filled with kids, bikes and toys.
Then, Thursday the Foundation’s President Jennifer Arnold-Brazell received a call saying their headquarters was flooded due to a broken pipe. She immediately drove their from work and couldn’t believe what she saw.
“I was sick to my stomach. I was literally devastated just seeing all our hard work gone,” Arnold-Brazell said.
The broke pipe cause a lot of damage. From a collapsed roof, to insulation all over furniture to water damage on almost everything they owned.
A place once thought of as a safe haven, is now seemingly in ruins.
“I had kids crying, asking if the foundation is gone. Are we ever going to be able to see you again,” said Arnold-Brazell. “They were just really upset and wondering if we would be able to repair this or are we going to have to move.”
The foundation supports families that may be dealing with addiction or trauma. So when Arnold-Brazell needed help, they didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.
“She’s my family, you know? I guess since I lost my mom, goodness gracious it’s been like a year and a half and she’s just always there,” said Savannah Smiles Foundation mother Hilary Monday. “So how can I not want to help, she is my family.”
Parents like Monday say the foundation is one of the few places they can feel safe without judgement.
And while she wishes they could continue on at their current headquarters, Monday says the best is yet to come, because the building doesn’t makes it feel like home, the people do.
“This is the moment that everything will get better. It will, I know it will,” Monday exclaimed. “She does so much for so many kids and it just keeps rapidly growing and I don’t think there’s any limit to what can happen.”
Still, the reality for Arnold-Brazell is that it will take tens of thousands of dollars to recover what was lost and she says they’re going to do what they can to stay afloat.
“We’re looking at months. We’re in the process of trying to raise some funds but right now I think we’re just going to have to have events at an off-site facility,” Arnold-Brazell explained.
Arnold-Brazell says they do have plans to meet with the kids this upcoming weekend for a possible night of bowling to talk about the future and have a moment of happiness after a sad last few days.
The foundation has started a GoFundMe to help them rebuild their headquarters and find a new permanent home. You can also visit their website to learn more about they’re mission.
Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.