Volunteers urgently needed in Minot, N.D.

by Larry Thomas
KNCSB Director of Disaster Relief

Volunteers with strong backs and arms, plus carpentry and electrical skills, are greatly needed to help put the “hope” in Hope Village, Minot, N.D. This is an ecumenical effort by many churches to assist families whose homes were flooded nearly a year ago.

The Hope Village volunteer center opened April 1 at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot. It is fully equipped to support up to 250 volunteers a day and has been set up according to North Dakota safety codes. Due to unanticipated heavy rains this spring, some of the trailers and support equipment are just coming on line.

Most of the 4,100-plus families whose homes were severely damaged in last spring’s historic Souris River floods are still trying to clean out, sanitize and rebuild.

A majority of the people I’ve spoken with indicated they had no flood insurance because they didn’t think it was necessary.

As the level of support offered by FEMA and insurance companies becomes clear, many families are realizing their total loss will not be covered. Many are left with the dilemma of trying to get loans but realizing they will still be short of the amount needed to repair their homes.

Without the assistance of volunteers to help with rebuilding and the continued help of donations, those affected by the flood will not be able to recover.

Disaster relief and rebuild assistance is affected by the short clean up and construction season, April to October, due to freezing weather in North Dakota.

Both volunteers and financial support are critical for the Hope Village effort. The affected Minot families—about a third of the city—were hit hard by last year’s unexpected flooding and are enduring overwhelming financial shortfalls.

Orphan Grain Train, based in Norfolk, Neb., has provided new bunk units and housing units along with a mobile kitchen and shower units for Hope Village. OGT is a ministry partner to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

Volunteers with basic carpentry and sheetrock skills are urgently needed to get the ball rolling. Electricians, in particular, are in short supply.

“This could almost be classified as a desperate need because everything hinges on having the electrical work done first,” Pastor Paul Krueger said in an e-mail. He is pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church and leader of the Hope Village effort. Krueger also pointed out that special provisions have been made with the state of North Dakota to honor electrical licenses from other states in the disaster rebuild effort.

To learn more or register as a volunteer, visit the Hope Village Web site and click on “Volunteer Information” in the top menu bar.
To make a gift to help Kansas-Nebraska Disaster Relief continue to assist with Minot, N.D., flood recovery efforts, mail checks (noting “Disaster Relief” in the memo line) to KNCSB, 5410 SW 7th, Topeka, KS 66606.

Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster purposes as determined by Kansas-Nebraska Disaster Response personnel. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.