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Respond to spring flooding

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

Pine Ridge

In this Monday, March 25, 2019 photo, water from White Clay Creek pools near the ranch of Ernie Little on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, near Pine Ridge, S.D. (Ryan Hermens | Rapid City Journal).

The heavy winter snowfall and fast spring melt are causing flooding throughout the Dakotas Conference. Currently, there is major flooding in the Pine Ridge area. Rising water is causing flooding in Southeast South Dakota from Brookings southward. Watertown and Lake Poinsett are also experiencing flooding. Other areas may emerge as the thaw continues.

If you would like to respond directly in the Pine Ridge area contact Maretta Champagne at 605-867-5007. Emergency Management, in the Pine Ridge, 605- 867-5011, are,  is the central distribution center for donations. It is located one block west of the Big Bats gas station in Pine Ridge, South Dakota  just off of Highway 18. Maretta said the families would appreciate flood buckets. Forty-two (42) homes are currently in need of clean up and repair. The biggest needs, according to Maretta they are: UTV's  (ATV's that can be used in deep mud) and UTV carts, first aid kits with bandaids, tweezers, bandages, etc., wading boots for men and women, water, and food. Shelters have been set up for displaced families.

We invite you to respond to flooding across the Dakotas, through monetary gifts and flood buckets. Monetary donations can be sent to the Conference office, noted for Disaster response. Send donations via mail to: Disaster Response, Dakotas Conference UMC, PO Box 460, Mitchell, SD 57301. You can also donate online here.

We are receiving flood buckets. Please prepare your flood buckets according to these UMCOR guidelines. Flood buckets can be dropped off at these sites:
Sioux Falls Wesley UMC, 1700 E 6th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57103, Pastor Manuel Loaeza, cell: 813-310-5210.
Rapid Valley UMC, 5103 Long View Dr, Rapid City, SD 57703, Pastor Laura Walters, 605-393-1526.
Mitchell Conference Office, 1331 W University Ave., Mitchell, SD 57301, 605-996-6552
*Jamestown St. Paul UMC ,1000 5th Ave NE, Jamestown, ND 58401, 701-252-3088, will be a drop off site until Saturday, April 6, when buckets will be transported to Mitchell.

As we receive info about the need for Early Response Teams, ERT and clean-up teams being needed, we will pass along that info. If you would like to be added to an email list for disaster response, and other conference news sign-up online here.

Sioux Falls First UMC, 401 S Spring Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, is hosting an Emergency Response Training, ERT, on Monday, April 8, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. and Tuesday, April 9 6:30 -9:30 p.m. Linda Kropenske will be leading the training. You must be present both nights. The training includes information and hands-on activities to prepare you to respond to natural disasters. Call Sioux Falls First UMC at 605-336-3652 to register by April 8. Class size may be limited. You must be 18 years or older to participate.

To become certified for three years as an ERT through The United Methodist Church, you must complete:

  1. Complete the six-hour training, there is no charge to you.
  2. Take the online Safe Gatherings Abuse Prevention Training throuth Congregation U. The cost is $24. This cost can be reimbursed if needed. The online training takes about one and one-half hours. Do not sign up for the background check through Congregation U. The course title is Safe Gatherings Abuse Prevention.
  3. Complete a background check through UMCOR online here. There is no charge for the background check, if you complete the course and Safe Gatherings Abuse Prevention Training. You will complete paperwork for the background check at the ERT training.

People have also asked about helping in Nebraska. Send monetary donations to the Great Plains Conference office or text to give. Watch the Great Plains UMC website for updates on volunteering or other donations. 

Please contact the Dakotas Conference office if you have any questions by e-mail or phone 605-996-6552.