More help arrives for Isom IGA one month after flooding

More help arrives for Isom IGA one month after flooding
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT
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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A month ago, families and businesses in Letcher County did not know what the future would hold for their community. But there is hope for a staple grocery store that was destroyed in the flood.

Father Jim Sichko said he wants to see the IGA in Isom become the signature store across the country for the brand as it shows the community rebuilding and coming together. A month ago, they didn’t know if that was possible. That’s when the store flooded, destroying years of hard work for Gwendolyn Christon.

“A month later you start to have hope, but you don’t have any idea that somebody is going to bless you in this way,” said Christon, IGA’s owner.

That blessing walked in with Father Jim after getting estimates it would cost $75,000 to repair the store.

“So here’s the $75,000,” Father Jim said.

Just three weeks ago, Father Jim was there giving Gwen $20,000 to begin recovery. Just days later she reached out wanting to give some of it back to help others.

“That has never happened. So I said, and I mean no disrespect, I said, ‘I will not let this woman top me.’ I said, ‘That’s it. She’s not done with me,” Father Jim said.

Father Jim brought hope by collecting donations from companies including Delta Airlines, and UK President Eli Capiluto.

“You’re thinking you gotta just do it yourself, but he’s come through to help us, and I thank him,” Christon said.

“Regardless of what it takes, this IGA has to be open. It has to be open. Not only for morale, not only for people. But people need their food, they need their nourishment, they need the hospitality. They need the interaction. They need this family,” Father Jim said.

A family that Gwen holds dear to her heart, and is determined to get everyone back together.

“Basically, what he has taught me, and what he wants me to do is to love all of these people who are standing here looking at me, and to share with them. I can’t send him tithe, but I can take care of them,” Christon said.

While Gwen said this means so much to her to have that support to rebuild, it means a lot more for her employees and also the community that’s really relied on this store for so many years.

Officials with IGA were also at the store on Wednesday and presented renderings of what the remodeled store will look like. Father Jim also gave gift cards to employees and neighbors to help with recovery.