As of Friday afternoon, the American Red Cross was operating four shelters in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa for people displaced by this week’s devastating floods, in Council Bluffs, Missouri Valley, Plattsmouth and Fremont.
All told, Red Cross shelters across the state had served about 700 people as of Friday morning, said Josh Murray, the agency’s regional communications and marketing manager for Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
Murray said additional shelters could open later.
Area residents can donate at redcross.org/local/nebraska. Monetary donations are better than material goods, which are hard to distribute, he said.
The Salvation Army will begin to distribute cleanup kits and bottled water to people in flood-afflicted areas, said Susan Eustice, director of public relations for the Army’s Western Division.
The local Salvation Army is partnering with NRG Media on a water drive from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Bottled water donation sites will be at the Nebraska Furniture Mart near 72nd and Pacific Streets and all three Fresh Thyme stores in the Omaha metropolitan area: 14949 Evans Plaza, 13215 West Center Road and 17550 Gold Plaza.
Eustice said the agency also has set up a special donation tab at salarmyomaha.org.
“We’re making it as easy as possible to donate without some long url or http,” she said.
People who want to volunteer can call 402-898-7700 and ask for emergency disaster services to see if you qualify to take an online test for certification. If you take it and are approved, you could be helping out on site yet this weekend.
United Way of the Midlands has established the Nebraska & Iowa Flood Relief Fund to help people who lost homes or suffered other setbacks in this week’s flooding. They estimated that thousands of people have been affected by the disaster.
One hundred percent of every donation will be given to nonprofit programs that provide shelter, food and other services in the Omaha area. Donors also can direct their gifts to another flood-impacted community in Nebraska.
To donate, go to unitedwaymidlands.org/floodrelief or text FLOODRELIEF to 41444. United Way also is helping flood victims in Nebraska and southwest Iowa through its 211 Helpline.
All proceeds from the St. Patrick Catholic Church fish fry from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday will be donated to flood relief efforts, according to a Facebook post from the church’s pastor, The Rev. Tom Fangman. The church is at 20500 West Maple Road.
First responders need help, too
Two churches and a radio station are collecting new blankets, towels, bottled water, prepackaged snacks and adult-size socks for first responders who have been working long hours to rescue flood victims.
You can drop off items at Community of Christ Church, 2102 Liberty Avenue in Missouri Valley, Joseph’s Coat Ministries, 1737 Washington St. in Blair and at the studios of Boomer Radio, 1016 S. Highway 50 in Blair and 11717 Burt St, Suite 201 in Omaha.
CHI Health has provided about 100 vaccines for flood rescue workers, for tetanus, Hepatitis B or both.
Family Fare supermarket in Blair also is taking donations of non-perishable food for flood victims.
United Healthcare is offering help to flood-affected Nebraska customers.
To contact a provider or get an early prescription refill, plan participants can call the number on the back of their medical ID cards. If you’ve lost your card, call 866-633-2446 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Optum, a health and behavioral health services company affiliated with United Healthcare, has a free emotional-support help line at 866-342-6892. Mental health specialists will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. It’s open to anyone.