With flooding in Fargo/Moorhead mostly contained, Salvation Army disaster teams have shifted much of their focus north of town, where flood waters have closed roads and inundated homesteads.
The Salvation Army spent the weekend â€œproviding supplies to small communities up and down the Red River Valley, almost to Grand Forks,â€ said Captain John Joyner, Incident Commander for the Fargo Salvation Army.Â Currently there is a supply vehicle enroute to Perley & Hendrum, MN.Â Â
Interstate 29, a main artery to the north, closed on Sunday.Â â€œNorth of Fargo you have the Red River and Sheyenne River running parallel â€“ everything in between them is a lake,â€ Joyner said, adding that there is a possibility The Salvation Army will bring supplies to communitiesÂ via airboat.
Meanwhile, disaster teams aboard two mobile kitchens continue to rove the streets in Fargo/Moorhead and serve residents and relief workers, with two more mobile kitchens ready to be deployed north once the roads open.
Another mobile kitchen has been reserved for other emergencies. â€œI bet that mobile kitchen has already responded to six or seven events not even related to the flood,â€ Joyner said. â€œOn Saturday there was an ammonia leak in Horace (southwest of Fargo), then last night there was a fire in town.â€
Up to 75 Salvation Army staff and volunteers a day have been providing food, drinks, emotional care and other support to thousands of residents and relief workers in the Red River Valley since mid-February.Â
â€œWherever there is a need, we meet it,â€ Joyner said.
Case in point: Last week, volunteer Dave Hinkley saw a big line of dump trucks and began serving all the drivers, whoâ€™d been hauling loads of clay to dike construction sites.
â€œThese guys drive for hours at a time,â€ Hinckley said. â€œMost of them have no one to talk to or interact with. Itâ€™s in the truck, to the pit, to the site, dump and repeat. So when they see us their faces light up, the smiles come out, and they really appreciate the water, sandwiches and chips. You really know that youâ€™re making a difference in their day.â€
Most of the drivers were in a rush and didnâ€™t have time to stop their trucks. So Hinckley and fellow volunteers delivered drinks and snacks by passing them through the truck windows drive-thru style.
One driver, however, made it a point to stop and get out of his truck. His father had been a member of the North Dakota National Guard when a devastating tornado struck Fargo in 1959. Assigned to a traffic control point, he wasnâ€™t relieved from his post for more than 12 hours. Toward the end of his shift, a Salvation Army truck stopped to offer him coffee and food, and let him know they appreciated what he was doing.Â
â€œThis trucker wanted to make sure that we knew that both he and his dad would never forget the kindness shown to them by The Salvation Army,â€ Hinckley said.
To donate to the Fargo Salvation ArmyÂ mail a check to 304 Roberts St., Fargo, ND 58102.