Flood Relief Grants Awarded
Thanks to your generosity, as of June 20, the Nebraska District has received more than $280,000 in donations from across the country. Congregations in the District have applied for more than $1,000,000 in funds through our flood relief grant process. District disaster relief funds are currently being disbursed through local congregations to serve their communities. Congregations have applied for grant money to help serve their local communities by meeting their bodily needs while connecting them to the congregation so they can receive God’s Word and Sacraments to meet their spiritual needs.As more donations are received, more will be granted to Nebraska congregations. Grants awarded include:
St. John Lutheran Church and School, Battle Creek
“By walking alongside community members who were affected, we were the loving arms of Jesus.”
St. John Lutheran Church in Battle Creek serves 200 children from their community through their school and child care center. In the midst of the flooding, the congregation opened their gym to the community as a place for children to play and for their parents to relax. They collected and dispersed nearly $35,000 in aid to their community, unaware that at that moment, previously frozen groundwater was seeping into and warping their gymnasium floor. Insurance only covered a small portion of the cost of repairs, and your gifts have allowed us to give St. John a grant to assist the congregation with the cost of repairs to get their gym functional again.
In addition, St. John has received a second grant to disburse in their community to meet the needs of families who are burdened by the high cost of repairing their homes which have been damaged by flooding.
Camp Luther of Nebraska, Schuyler
In 2018, Camp Luther of Nebraska served over 3,000 people, including children, families, special needs students, and confirmation classes. They expect to serve more this year. Rapid snow melt and heavy rain caused massive amounts of water to run through the grounds at Camp Luther. The camp’s lake overflowed, damaging the deck, dock, and the beach area. Parts of the road into camp were damaged and all of the gravel was washed away. Completion of the repairs was urgent, given the rapidly approaching date of the opening of Camp for the spring and summer.
Project Restore at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fremont
A disaster relief grant from Synod allowed Good Shepherd, Fremont to establish Project Restore “as an effort to make a real and tangible difference in people’s homes and lives.” Nebraska District flood relief funds have helped Project Restore hire a part-time staff member to assist with running the project. Over the next few years Good Shepherd, Fremont will embark on an effort to connect volunteers from around the country with local residents and towns that need assistance with mold remediation (demolition, sanitizing, cleaning) as well as construction (electrical, plumbing, drywall, mudding etc.). These services are a labor of love and do not require payment or stipulations. Through Project Restore, Good Shepherd will offer housing, meals, showers, supplies, and plenty of work. If you or a group from your congregation would like to participate, visit https://www.goodshepherdlutheranchurch.org/project-restore-signup to get the process started.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Verdigre
When the Spencer dam broke, it destroyed a cafe in Niobrara that is the only family-owned restaurant open on Sunday afternoons and weekday evenings in a forty mile radius. The cafe also provides “meals on wheels” for the surrounding community, and its loss had a great impact on many elderly residents who depend on that meal. Through the grants applied for by the congregation of Bethlehem, Verdigre, along with many other organizations, the cafe is now back in business serving the community, serving the workers repairing roads, and serving those who benefit from their donated meals.
Other Nebraska Congregations
At this time, grants have been awarded to Christ, Cairo; Immanuel, Osmond; Christ, Columbus; Faith, Stanton; St. John, Columbus, Peace, Columbus; and Grace, Wood River. These congregations are distributing funds in their communities to assist families with the clean up and repair of their homes, especially with basements which need to be cleaned, repaired, and have appliances replaced.
A number of families have been close to losing their homes entirely as they try to balance their mortgage payments and regular bills with the costs of flood recovery and repairs. Congregations that receive flood grants are able to help them so they can continue to make necessary payments.
The flood grant committee was especially moved by the story of an elderly woman living alone on a fixed income who would not be able to get her furnace repaired until she’d paid for asbestos abatement—an expense she could not manage. After receiving a grant, her congregation is now able to help her with those expenses, allowing her to stay in her home safely.
The grant process is ongoing, and as more funds are given, more will be granted. We are still taking donations for flood relief, with every dollar going directly for aid. To give online, click here to visit our secure online giving portal and put your desired amount in the area labeled Disaster Relief – NE Flooding. To give by check, please make your check out to “Nebraska District LCMS” including a note that it is for “Disaster Relief – NE Flooding” and mail it to Nebraska District LCMS, PO Box 407, Seward, NE 68434. Your partnership is making a difference in the lives of people in many communities. Thank you!