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Five years ago, the community of Wayne was hit hard by an EF-4 tornado.
In its aftermath, almost 100 Nebraska communities came into town, bringing fire trucks, rescue vehicles and equipment to help with cleanup efforts, and thousands of volunteers from surrounding communities helped in the days and weeks that followed to help Wayne pick up from the storm’s damage.
Now, a Wayne resident wants to “return the favor” to help those communities that were impacted last week by flooding.
“I’ve been wanting to do something to help out those who helped us back in 2013,” said Michael Carnes, who operates the WayneAmerica.com website.
He has begun a donation effort that he hopes will provide 5,000 T-shirts (and other necessities) to people with clothing needs in the communities impacted by the recent storm.
While T-shirts are the focus, he said the donation effort will take in any kind of clean, gently-worn clothing, as well as other necessities like toiletries or bottled water. Main Street Garage, located at Seventh and Main streets in Wayne, is serving as a drop-off point for donations.
“The goal is to bring in 5,000 T-shirts of all sizes,” Carnes said. “It’s an opportunity for us, as citizens of Wayne, to give back to those communities who came in our time of need five years ago and helped us out.”
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For residents and businesses interested in helping with flood-relief efforts, here are some other possibilities.
Nebraska helping Nebraska
The community of Battle Creek is partnering with Orphan Grain Train of Norfolk to collect donations for the communities affected by the flood. The drop-off location is St. John Lutheran Church’s parish hall in Battle Creek.
It will be open for donations on Tuesday, March 19, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and then 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Donations also will be accepted on Wednesday, March 20, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and then from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Suggested donation items include new pillows and blankets, bath towels, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brushes, body soap, dish soap, trash bags, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, Kleenex and toilet paper.
American Red Cross
Over the weekend, the American Red Cross was operating or planning to operate 15 shelters in Nebraska and western Iowa for people displaced by the devastating floods, said Josh Murray, the agency’s regional communications and marketing manager for Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
Area residents can donate at redcross.org/local/nebraska. Monetary donations are better than material goods, which are hard to distribute, he said.
United Way of the Midlands has established the Nebraska & Iowa Flood Relief Fund to help people who lost homes or suffered other setbacks in the flooding.
One hundred percent of every donation will be given to nonprofit programs that provide shelter, food and other services. Donors also can direct gifts to any flood-impacted community.
Go to unitedwaymidlands.org/floodrelief or text FLOODRELIEF to 41444. United Way also is helping flood victims in Nebraska and southwest Iowa through its 211 Helpline.
Nebraska Farm Bureau
The Nebraska Farm Bureau has established a disaster relief fund and launched the Agriculture Disaster Exchange portal to connect farmers, ranchers and agricultural communities with help. To donate, apply for aid from the Disaster Relief Fund or use the Agriculture Disaster Exchange portal, www.nefb.org/disaster.
Flood-affected plan members in Nebraska can contact a provider or get an early prescription refill by calling the number on the back of their medical ID cards. If you’ve lost your card, call 866-633-2446. Optum, a health and behavioral health services company affiliated with United HealthCare, has a free emotional-support help line at 866-342-6892. Mental health specialists will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. It’s open to anyone.
Hy-Vee has donated four semitrailer trucks’ worth of water to the American Red Cross, Nebraska/Southwest Iowa region, to distribute to the towns hardest hit by flooding.
Hy-Vee said communities that need clean drinking water should contact their local emergency management agency for more information on how to receive water.
Crisis Clean Up Hotline
Residents who need help with home cleanup, cutting trees, removing drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture and appliances or other physical labor-type jobs, can call the Crisis Clean Up Hotline at (833) 566-2476 to get on a needs list.
Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is coordinating volunteers from across the country to assist with cleanup. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/2UMNtRy.
Assistance for veterans
For veterans affected by recent flooding in Nebraska, the Nebraska Veterans Aid (NVA) may be able to assist with food, clothing, and emergency housing (i.e. hotel accommodations). Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine the amount of assistance a veteran and/or their eligible dependents would be able to receive. Veterans should apply for NVA through their county Veteran Service Officer.
State agriculture department
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has put together a list of disaster relief resources for Nebraska farmers and ranchers seeking assistance due to severe weather. This list includes information about NDA’s Hay and Forage Hotline and programs from the Farm Service Agency. For information go to: www.nda.nebraska.gov/resources.
Flood fundraiser planned
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers restaurants in Norfolk and elsewhere in Nebraska will hold a fundraiser in support of the Nebraska flood victims on Wednesday, March 20. Fifteen percent of sales from 5 to 9 p.m. at the restaurants will be donated to the Salvation Army.
In addition, all the restaurants will be serving as a donation drop site this week. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army in each restaurant’s community and given to flood victims. In specific, they are looking for cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items and items for volunteers, such as water and sports drinks.
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