That was the word JoDee Altmann and her family used to describe their reaction to the outcome of a local effort to help raise funds and collect donations for the flood victims in Nebraska.
“We live in such a gracious community,” said JoDee, adding the family is so thankful for the generosity of people who went well beyond what they could have ever imagined when they started.
The Altmanns left the area for Nebraska March 27 with a trailer packed full of local donations.
Donations of all kinds came in, and the Altmann family pointed out the Westside Center that dropped off furniture, clothes and a variety of other items. Equity Elevator in Wood Lake began accepting donations to pay for feed that would be hauled down. A total of 17 pallets of feed, approximately 33,000 pounds, was taken to Nebraska with D&D Schwerin Trucking providing the trucks to take those donations to their destination.
There were bales for bedding that also made their way from Minnesota to Nebraska, and the Altmanns, including JoDee, Mike, Ashtyn, Austin, Alexis and Addysen, were on hand to help unload that. JoDee mentioned that as fast as those bales arrived they were unloaded and hauled away.
The donations continued to come in after the Altmanns left for Nebraska, and JoDee said the Equity Elevator had an additional $2,500 in donations come in, so the Altmanns are going to be making a return trip this week with fencing supplies. That, said JoDee, is something that has been a top request.
During their March trip to Nebraska the Altmanns had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the damage from the major floodwaters, and while much of the water had receded there was still plenty of water to see. The results of that flooding was still very evident, as they pointed out seeing things like large shipping crates alongside roadways. JoDee said the best way to explain what they saw is to compare it to what one might see after a tornado has been through an area.
The Altmanns were also able to witness how others have been able to help, as they learned about groups like Worlds Central Kitchen, which is an organization that brings in professional chefs from around the world to help provide food for those who are in need as well as for the volunteers who are there helping. More than 1,500 meals were being served through that group on a daily basis. Facilities in different locations were turned into what looked like giant garage sales with donations of all kinds being sorted and set up for people in need.
The Altmanns had a chance to serve in one of those locations by taking people through the donations helping them “shop” for everything from cleaning items to clothing. Some people came in knowing exactly what they needed, while others just came in so overwhelmed by what they have been experiencing that they just did not know where to start.
JoDee mentioned that there is a need for physical help as people begin to try and put their lives together, and she is hoping in the not-too-distant future to take an even larger group from the area to go down and provide that help with recovery.
More about that opportunity will be announced in coming days.