Knocked back, people getting to work on leap forward
By GARRETT NEESE
Houghton Daily Mining Gazette
HOUGHTON — As cleanup continues from Sunday’s flash flood, donations and volunteer efforts are underway.
People seeking to volunteer or give assistance can call 211 or 906-233-6621. More people have volunteered than have requested assistance, Houghton County Administrator Eric Forsberg said at Tuesday’s County Board meeting.
“They are there for people who wish to volunteer their services, and they are there to take calls from people who need services,” he said. “If anyone needs help clearing out their home, call that number, or if they want to volunteer.”
As assignments come in from municipalities, volunteers will be dispatched to those areas, said Chris Van Arsdale, emergency measures coordinator for Houghton County.
Houghton is gathering goods at Dee Stadium. The best things to donate are cleanup items such as rakes, shovels and gloves.
Water and food are being accepted, said city employee Jeremy Maki.
Clothing should be donated to St. Vincent de Paul in Hancock and Baraga, Salvation Army in Hanock, Goodwill in Houghton or Angel Mission in Calumet.
Dee Stadium will be open for donations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
City employee Jet Lucchesi said he was expecting a couple of semi-loads of donations to arrive tomorrow. Donations are coming in from Chocolay and Marquette townships.
“A lot of this stuff came from the Iron River area this morning,” he said. “They came in with three vehicles packed to the roof. The word just went out. That’s hard to believe for me.”
Several local churches have also served as donation sites. Bucky Beach, pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Houghton, said Tuesday’s media conference at the Houghton County Courthouse showed the importance of centralizing donations.
“Anything that’s going to come to churches is probably going to have to go through Dee Stadium so that we can keep track of all the stuff that’s going on,” he said. “The most important thing is that we’re on the same page.”
People looking to donate money can give to two newly established funds.
¯ The Portage Health Foundation has established the Houghton County Flood Relief Fund. Contributions can be made online at www.phfgive.org/contribute.php. or mailed to Portage Health Foundation, 400 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930.
Donors should put “flood relief” in the comments section of the contribution, or on a check if mailed, to ensure it is properly allocated to relief efforts.
Executive Director Kevin Store said the organization has received thousands of dollars in donations from across the country.
“I just have to applaud all the municipalities and the utility workers and the road workers,” he said. “They’re working in unsafe conditions. I’m sure they’re quite tired. But to be able to see the way that this community has come together and responded to this has just been absolutely amazing. Pretty inspiring.”
¯ The Keweenaw Community Foundation had raised around $17,000 as of Tuesday morning. As with the PHF, they’ve been reaching out to community partners to prioritize needs. To donate, go to keweenawgives.org or call 482-9673. Executive Director Jim Vivian Jr. said he’s also received help from communities such as Flint or Duluth that have gone through disasters.
“We’re trying to understand how to best support our community,” he said.
¯ The Betty Chavis Fund is available specifically for Michigan Technological University students affected by the disaster. Donations can be made at mtu.edu/giving by specifying “Betty Chavis Emergency Fund.”
¯ The Student Development Complex at Michigan Technological University has opened locker rooms 109 and 110 for any community members displaced by the storm seeking a free shower. Community members should check in at the ID desk during building hours for a towel and directions.
¯ Gardenview Assisted Living & Memory Support in Calumet will be providing transportation, meals, and laundry services to affected individuals. Residents in need of those resources can call Maggie at 337-0800.