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$890K raised to help flood victims

 Hotels in Kearney were being evacuated Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (Courtesy of City of Kearney)
Hotels in Kearney were being evacuated Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (Courtesy of City of Kearney) (WOWT)
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 4:40 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s been nearly two years since historic flooding hit our state. Now, we’re learning just how much relief communities received in the Kearney area.

Back in March 2019, Kearney Area Community Foundation President & CEO Judi Sickler was on vacation when her phone was pinging nonstop. Her inbox was full of stories about major flooding in Nebraska including communities in the Kearney area.

Emailing back to the foundation office, staff was able to activate the Disaster Relief Fund and quickly went on social and traditional media to encourage donors to support our neighbors in need.

Upon returning, Sickler and other local nonprofits put their heads together to create a One-Stop-Shop in Gibbon to help connect local flood victims with help after the disaster.

In July, the group was wrapping up the grant making distributing the funds raised since March, when the second flood occurred this time affecting south Kearney and other communities across Buffalo County. Unfortunately, some households were hit a second time.

The nonprofit leaders decided it was best to launch the Kearney Area Disaster Recovery Group (KADRG) due to the widespread destruction.

KADRG would later hire a full-time coordinator and two part-time advocates. The three were paid through a grant that ran through December 31, 2020.

Staff of the KADRG worked directly with flood victims, listening to their stories and connecting them to organizations that could assist with their particular needs. The KADRG is wrapping up the last of the grant making in the coming weeks.

Since March 2019, more than $890 thousand was raised to help Kearney area flood victims:

  • Kearney Area Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund - $479,409.65
  • Kearney Area Disaster Recovery Group - $309,000.00
  • United Way of the Kearney Area - $102,014.65

THROUGH THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT:

  • 648 households were assisted by connecting them with other organizations providing assistance like the Gibbon Area Relief Fund, FEMA, SBA, Orphan Grain Train, Red Cross, and Region III
  • 285 households were awarded grants to help with out-of-pocket recovery costs
  • 117 households received help with building materials and clean up supplies/services
  • 51 families/individuals had assistance with the expense of contractors such as painters, drywallers, carpet installers, and electricians
  • 39 needed immediate help with rent and utility bills
  • 24 furnaces were replaced or repaired

Many other types of assistance were given, including acquiring beds, water heaters, and many other items depending on other types of assistance and unmet needs.

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