Rushford residents take a few minutes during mass Sunday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church to talk about where they saw God this week among the devesation from the flood. St. Joseph's was the only Rushford church without flood damage and has opened it's doors to Rushford Lutheran Church to hold masses as well. From left are Vern and Beth McManimon-Myers, Edward and Rose Ann McManimon, Raquela and Mason McManimon-Myers.
United Way officials ask people not to go to Rushford without first registering. For city of Rushford volunteer projects, the minimum age for volunteers is 16 with parental permission and adult supervision. There are current volunteer needs through Sept. 2, with more likely to be added, officials said.
To make donations to help Rushford residents, send checks to: Rushford Flood Relief Fund c/o Associated Bank, Rushford, P. O. Box 726, Rushford, Minn. 55971. Donations of hand sanitizing and cleaning supplies will be accepted. No used clothing is needed at this time.
Rushford is just one city of the six counties of southeastern Minnesota that got hit with 7-17" of rain last week. The Diocese of Winona provides the following information:
- A website has been created to assist in relief coordination at www.winonanet.com
- St. Joseph Parish in Rushford has become the central relief center for that city. St. Joseph’s were the only church buildings in the city unaffected by the flooding.
- The parish has been serving close to 1,500 meals a day for those who have lost their homes and those who have come to the city to assist in the recovery effort, such as the National Guard, building inspectors, county work crews from throughout southern Minnesota, and those who are working to keep the city functioning. Parish teams from as far as Medford have arrived with food and personnel to cook and serve.
- In order to keep the operation open, the parish is counting on donations of food, serving supplies, such as paper plates and utensils, and cash donations.
- Businesses wishing to donate food should take it directly to Montini Hall (the church hall next to the church at 101 Rushford Ave. W). If access to the city is still restricted, drivers should tell National Guard troops that they are bringing food for Montini Hall.
- Cash donations may be sent to the Diocese of Winona, PO Box 588, Winona, MN 55987 and marked for Flood Relief. Please note that the U.S. Post Office in Rushford remains closed.
- The Winona County Flood Relief Donation Center, for anyone affected by the flooding (not just Winona County residents), is now located in the Underdahl Toyota building at Huff and 2nd Street in Winona. Personal hygiene and cleaning supplies are available to those in need. Many items are still needed.
- The center is seeking NEW and/or UNOPENED supplies as follows: Brooms, squeegees w/long handles, Kleenex, scrub brushes, mops, laundry detergent, Lime-a-Way, rubber gloves (large and heavy-duty), baby wipes, bee traps, allergen-free detergent, shovels, storage totes w/lids, garbage bags, fans, boots (heavy-duty, rubber and/or work), face masks, protective eyewear, toilet paper, plastic sheeting for windows, duct tape, rags, buckets, work gloves, paper towels, razors, spray bottles, hand sanitizer, bug bite stick and cream, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion, first aid supplies, feminine products, socks and underwear, NEW bath towels, hydrogen peroxide, eye protection, non-scented bleach, steel rakes.
- Donation Center is NOT accepting ANY food or clothing at this time (see below, Winona Volunteer Services).
- Many families and individuals affected by the flood need a place to talk, to grieve and sort through their emotions. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona is responding to the mental health needs of those families by providing free mental health counseling. For more information, please contact Catholic Charities at (507) 454-2270 or (507) 287-2047. Visit our website at www.ccwinona.org for locations.
- Emergency food items may be donated or obtained at Winona Volunteer Services, 416 E. 2nd St. The telephone number is (507) 452-5591. Clothing is also available for those in need. If you wish to donate clothing, please call the center first to see if it is needed or what they are accepting.
- The buildings of St. Paul Parish in Minnesota City, St. Peter Parish in Hokah, and St. Aloysius in Elba were unaffected by the flooding. Eleven families from St. Mary’s Parish in Winona have lost their homes and all their belongings. Holy Redeemer Parish in Eyota, St. Joseph, Good Thunder, and Immaculate Conception in Wilson had water damage to their church basements. At St. Patrick Parish in Brownsville, the roof of the parish hall collapsed during the storm.
- Two years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss., the people of the Diocese of Winona responded with goods and services totally more than $3 million in relief for southern Mississippi. Now, through a personal telephone call to Bishop Bernard Harrington, Bishop Thomas Rodi of Biloxi has assured the Diocese of Winona of their prayers and support. He has asked all the parishes in the Diocese of Biloxi to take up an emergency collection Aug. 25-26 for the flood victims in the Diocese of Winona. There have also been inquiries from work teams from the Biloxi Diocese ready to head to Minnesota to assist in rebuilding efforts.
Report compiled by Suzanne Belongia of Catholic Charities and Rose Hammes, diocesan Director of Communications. If you have information to add to this report, please contact Hammes at email@example.com, (507) 454-4643, or Belongia at (507) 459-5556, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Few know that our own Ironic Catholic, one of the wittiest bloggers in or out of Christendom, lives in the Winona diocese. She, whose own home was not harmed, reports that:
"Eleven families from St. Mary’s Parish in Winona have lost their homes and all their belongings."
I think the most touching part may be that the Diocese of Biloxi has offered to help us. Winona "adopted" Biloxi the after Katrina hit, and hundreds of people have traveled there to help rebuild and more, and the diocese donated $3 Million to help. But I don't think anyone expected Biloxi--which is still recovering--to offer to help us.
I can't tell you how bizarre it is to open university with a Red Cross shelter onsite, and Emergency relief trucks all over the towns. Most (like me) are not really hurt, and some (everyone knows someone) who have lost absolutely everything.