Local flood help organization still accepting donationsA local organization that help flood victims sanitize and renovate their homes is still accepting applications and donations. The Stutsman County Unmet Needs Committee has raised about half of its $30,000 goal. Officials wouldn’t say how many households had applied for help, but the money re-ceived so far is not enough to help them all, said Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
A local organization that help flood victims sanitize and renovate their homes is still accepting applications and donations.
The Stutsman County Unmet Needs Committee has raised about half of its $30,000 goal. Officials wouldn’t say how many households had applied for help, but the money re-ceived so far is not enough to help them all, said Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
More than 500 homes in the Stutsman County area were affected by flooding, officials said, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided more than $373,000 in assistance.
But assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency, personal insurance, the Small Business Administration and other resources isn’t always enough.
That’s where the committee can help.
One of the committee’s roles is to distribute funding to residents who need help cleaning up or repairing essential living spaces, said the Rev. Harlan Kaden, committee chairman and pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Those essential living spaces may include a child’s bedroom, the family’s kitchen or a bathroom. Living spaces that are part of a home, but not essential (like a deck or a guest bedroom) do not qualify.
Already, several businesses, individuals and churches have made donations.
Agri-Cover, for example, made a donation because flood waters had altered the lives of everyone in this area, said Joan Morris, controller.
“You look around and I think everyone was affected by it. … some worse than others,” she said.
The First Community Credit Union donated as well. Two of its three locations had water in the basements, said Janna Bergstedt, marketing manager.
“That (the donation) was just a way we could reach out to the community,” she said.
In most cases, the funding goes to the contractor or the vendor for the repairs, Dewald said. Rarely are checks written directly to the applicant. That ensures accountability, Kaden said.
And, the committee’s expenses are specifically for unmet needs as opposed to administrative costs, he said. The committee is comprised of volunteers and most expenses like postage and paper are donated.
To some, the flood feels like a thing of the past. The last of the dikes were removed last month. Third Street Northeast reopened Wednesday after officials closed it months before so over-ground pipes could carry sewage away from the downtown lift station.
But to some households, the effects of the flood are still present.
Many residents still have water in their basements, Dewald said. Others have mold. Some families haven’t even moved back to their original homes.
“If you have to live out of a suitcase for a long period of time, that creates a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety and depression,” Kaden said.
“People feel vulnerable,” she said. “People feel like they have failed they’re families.”
Repairing and renovating essential living spaces can help counteract the stress and anxiety, Kaden said. And residents shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. Many pride themselves on self-reliance, he said, but self-reliance also isolates others.
“It’s not necessary to bear that load alone. Our burdens are meant to be shared,” he said.
The Stutsman County Recovery Unmet Needs Committee specifically serves Stutsman County, but residents of any county may send applications to the committee. The committee submits all applications to North Dakota Long Term Recovery. Residents of any county can qualify for state funding without filling out an additional application.
Applications can be picked up at the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 300 Second Ave. N.E. # 213 (located in the Buffalo Mall), the office of the Stutsman County Emergency Manager, 205 Sixth St. S.E. (located in the lower level of the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center). Applicants can also call 952-2009. Applications may also be downloaded from The Jamestown Sun’s Web site at www.jamestownsun.com.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 17.
To make a donation to the Stutsman County Recovery Unmet Needs Committee, mail it to Jamestown Community Foundation, P.O. Box 372, Jamestown, ND 58402. When sending the donation, indicate “disaster unmet needs” in the check’s memo section.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org