The Salvation Army Western Division (based in Omaha) meets the ongoing needs of flood survivors via a wide array of social-services programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, and western Iowa.
The organization sprang into action in response to the Flood of 2019—serving more than 44,000 meals, providing some 47,000 snacks, and distributing over 100,000 relief items, including flood-cleanup kits. At the height of its response, The Salvation Army’s ongoing flood-relief efforts were spread out over a 400-mile-long corridor ranging from the Missouri-Iowa border to the Pine Ridge Reservation in western South Dakota.
One of the examples of this community-focused work could be seen in the The Salvation Army-Mitchell Corps’ efforts in fall 2019 to assist the Yankton Sioux Tribe near Lake Andes, South Dakota—where homes were inundated, foundations had crumbled, and mud and mold were seemingly everywhere.
“Most of the kids we’ve seen on the reservation are barefoot because they are trying to keep their one pair of shoes clean for school, and many are being bullied by classmates because their clothes smell like mold,” said Capt. Debbi Middendorp of The Salvation Army.
Salvation Army officers from Rapid City, Huron, Watertown, and Western Divisional headquarters in Omaha all traveled to Mitchell to assist with flood-relief efforts there. In addition to serving 125 meals a day on the reservation, they also assisted residents impacted by flooding in the towns of Mitchell, Mount Vernon, and Spencer, as well as members of the Wolf Creek Hutterite Colony. During the week of September 16, officers, staff, and volunteers—including students from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell—served more than 1,200 meals and 2,500 drinks and distributed 330 flood clean-up kits.
In addition to providing food and flood-relief supplies, The Salvation Army helped residents with sandbagging to protect the community center from encroaching water and interacted with residents while clean-up efforts continued.
Scenes similar to those in South Dakota unfolded in communities across Nebraska and western Iowa, as well—as Salvation Army teams worked to help residents fight back against the Flood of 2019.
The need in South Dakota and across the three-state area remains great. The Salvation Army Western Division continues to assist flood survivors a year after the disaster, chiefly by helping them with household necessities and supporting them via case work. To find out more or to donate, visit salarmyomaha.org.