As Nebraskans struggle with their losses due to massive flooding across the state, Kansans are stepping up to help with their immediate needs.
Snowmelt and a “bomb cyclone” that hit the Great Plains last week have forced more than 4,000 people from their homes across the state, washed away dams and livestock, and damaged more than 200 miles of roads, Nebraska’s governor said.
Rooks County farmer Adam Brobst decided he wanted to help, and began organizing donation drives. The response to his social media post has been “overwhelming,” he said.
“I figured I’d take a semi load of feed up,” he said, and maybe fill up the sleeper of his truck cab with goods like water, diapers and nonperishable food.
“Where we’re at right now, I think we’ll fill up a whole 24-foot stock trailer and have a pretty good start on a second 24-foot trailer to go up,” he said Wednesday afternoon.
Brobst has established donation drop-offs at Midland Marketing in Plainville, Stockton Co-Op and Farmers and Ranchers Outlet in Phillipsburg.
Items he is collecting include water, sports drinks, diapers, infant formula, paper goods, toiletries, pet food, non perishable food, shovels, masks, tarps, towels and blankets.
He plans to make his first delivery to Nebraska Thursday and a second one on March 29. He asks that donations be made by March 28.
A Hays couple with ties to Nebraska is also taking donations through their employers. Drew Gannon, director of the Fort Hays State University Wellness Center, has family in the Columbus, Lincoln and Omaha areas.
“We have a house just outside Omaha, and they’ve been land-locked and can’t get out,” he said.
“Everybody’s OK and nothing’s been lost, we just can’t get in and out,” he said.
He and fiancé Katelyn Unruh, a kindergarten teacher at O’Loughlin Elementary School, already had a planned trip to visit family this weekend and will take donations with them, Gannon said.
Donations can dropped off at the Wellness Center in Cunningham Hall until 12:30 p.m. Friday or until Thursday at the Arc of the Central Plains, 600 Main.
Donations have trickled in since Monday, but got a boost Wednesday night from Encounter, a ministry for young adults at Celebration Community Church. Gannon said he expects more to come in Thursday and Friday.
Students at O’Loughlin will also be collecting donations through Friday morning for them to take to Nebraska. Unruh said it’s a good learning opportunity for the students.
“It’s kind of a civic engagement piece, just to teach compassion and to help others wherever they’re needing it,” she said.
Items the couple is collecting include water, diapers, baby wipes, bottled water, paper towels and cleaning supplies, blankets, bedding and towels.