If ever there was a perfect place to have a disaster, it’s in a rural community. The flooding that has devastated the Midwest has created billions of dollars worth of damage, but has brought together hundreds of thousands of people, united as one. Across flooded farmlands and state lines that can no longer be crossed due to damaged highways, roads, and bridges, if those aren’t still covered by flood water and debris, people are joining together to help their family and neighbors to survive a disaster that will have repercussions that last a lifetime. Farmers who have farmed the same fields for multiple generations may not recover from this. People who have lived in the same house or same town all their lives are now homeless with absolutely no possessions of their own besides the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet. Livestock and pets are literally stranded on patches of dry land surrounded by five miles or more of flood water, or they are found floating in the water, or they are stuck in homes and barns that are literally falling apart or are filled with water and debris. The statistics are horrific.

But through it all is a shining light. People have flooded our small communities with thousands of dollars worth of donations for flood victims, or thousands of dollars to find a place for them to stay or to get back on their feet months down the road when this is all over. Even people who live several hours away are providing truckloads of water for towns without water access or hauling in truckloads of hay for livestock that are stranded. Drop-off sites are overflowing with clothes and cleaning supplies and hygiene products and everyday necessities that most of us take for granted. Businesses throughout the Midwest are holding sales, donating proceeds to the flood victims. People are even offering up rooms in their own homes for those in need of a place to lie down and regroup.

Sadly, this mess is not over, not even close. Miles of water continue to cover the area and most of the snow to the north hasn’t even melted yet. So many levees have been breached, but can not yet be accessed, let alone fixed. Roads are so damaged that normal travel routes will not reopen for months. This disaster is here to stay in Atchison County and surrounding communities for some time, but we have each other to lighten the load.

WHERE TO DONATE

Clothing, food and supplies can be picked up by those affected by the flood at the following locations in Atchison County:

Atchison-Holt Disaster Relief: 408 S. Main Street, Rock Port (Watts Cleaners building)

Community Services Office: 322 Main Street, Tarkio (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

Tarkio Nutrition Center: 412 Main Street, open for donations Monday-Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Rock Port Ministerial Alliance at the United Methodist Church: 208 W. Opp Street, Rock Port, MO 64482 or UMC, P.O. Box 211, Rock Port, MO 64482.

Monetary Donation Information: Atchison and Holt Counties Disaster Recovery Team: Make checks out to Atchison-Holt Disaster Recovery and drop off or mail to Citizens Bank & Trust, 101 Main Street, P.O. Box 70, Rock Port, MO 64482; or United Methodist Church, 208 W. Opp Street, P.O. Box 211, Rock Port, MO 64482.

Salvation Army of Atchison County: Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations that will be used for food, medical, gas, housing, deposits, utilities and many other needs. All money donated will go to disaster relief in Atchison County. The board’s goal is to help our county any way we can. If you have a need call 660-736-4212 or see one of the following board members: Rock Port – Jim Clodfelter, Carol Herron, Cathy Davis, and Monica Bailey; Fairfax – Bob Alldredge, Bill Slaughter, and Michelle Oswald; Tarkio – Sally Wehmann, Janene McEnaney, Tammy Grossman; or Westboro – Chris Stevens. Mail checks to 218 S. Maple Street, Tarkio MO 64491 (specify Atchison County Flood Relief), or donate online (https://give.salvationarmyusa.org/give/164006/#!/donation/checkout).

Watson Firefighters: The Watson Fire Department has a fund to help with those that have been evacuated from the Village of Watson due to flooding. Donations can be sent to Watson Fire Department, c/o Fire Chief, 205 Linden Street, Watson, MO 64496. Please make checks out to Watson Fire Department and put Flood Relief in the memo.

PayPal Donation Online: Atchisoncounty.org/flood-donations

WHERE TO GET HELP

Multi-Agency Information Meeting for Flood Assistance:

Information and resources will be available at the Velma Houts Fair Building on Thursday, March 28, from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. This resource is provided by the Atchison-Holt Disaster Recovery Committee.

At the event, people needing assistance will fill out a form application to establish flood victim residency and receive information about assistance and resources available now and in the future. ID and proof of residency is required.

Here is a list of some of the resources and organizations that will be attending: Red Cross, Vital Statistics (Social Security card and driver’s license, birth certificates in case they destroyed), schools, churches, Catholic Charities, County Health Department/Hospital, Counseling/Pastoral Care, Salvation Army, Social Services, Extension Office (flood clean-up information), FSA, SEMA, Missouri Job Center-Maryville, and Community Services.

Community Services: All persons in Atchison County flood territory should register at Community Services, 322 Main Street in Tarkio on Wednesday, March 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. so we can get assistance to you for supplies for clean-up. All need to be registered who desire help. Email shyannray@yahoo.com for more information.

Tetanus shots: Tetanus shots are available at all Community Hospital-Fairfax clinics and the hospital, as well as through Atchison-Holt Ambulance District and Atchison County Emergency Management 9-1-1.

Places to stay: For flood victims who need a place to stay, options include Rock Port Cabins, Rock Port Inn, Super 8, Big T Motel, Fairfax Fire Station/Community Room, Rock Port United Methodist Church, and Tarkio Rehabilitation and Health Care. For those with campers, the City of Tarkio is offering reduced rates at its RV park.

Salvation Army Meals: The Salvation Army is serving lunch and dinner at the Velma Houts Fair Building at 201 E. U.S. Hwy. 136, Rock Port, for flood victims and those working flood management/clean-up. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The meals will only be served through Friday, March 29 (no more volunteers are needed to serve at this time).

If additional flood waters come in, and there is a need, the meals will start up again. If they do, volunteers will be needed. To get your name on the volunteer list, call Jim Clodfelter at 660-744-4175 or John Callahan at 816-471-4337 or 816-898-9770.

The Lucky Clovers 4-H Club gathered Monday, March 18, to put their hands to larger service by sorting through donated items to deliver to the Atchison County Community Services and Tarkio/Westboro Ministerial Alliance. These organizations are currently sponsoring a drive for flood victims in Atchison and Holt counties.

The second grade class in Fairfax helped sort, fold, and package baby clothes to donate to those affected by the flooding. Each item was folded with love and care. The students were happy to lend a helping hand and they are sending continuing thoughts to everyone who has been affected. (Photo by Whitney Harrington)

Donations for local flood victims were beginning to pile up at the Tarkio Nutrition Center on Thursday, March 21, 2019. Several businesses throughout the county began accepting donations last week to help those in need.

The outpouring of support for those who have been affected by the flood has been great as you can see in the photos above. The former Watts Cleaners building on Main Street in Rock Port has worked out as a great location to set up a short-term collection site. Currently the needs are paper towels, masks, big trash bags, bleach, and rubber gloves. They have more than enough of the clothing and toiletry items; please no more. If you would like to help work at the drop-off station for the Atchison Holt County Disaster Relief please contact Carol at 660-744-4386.

Community Services Director for Atchison and Holt counties, Shyann Ray, left, accepts a check for over $3,000 from Envy Apparel owner Cheyann Marrison, right.

ENVY APPAREL DONATES OVER $3,000 TO FLOOD VICTIMS

The donations for flood victims keep pouring in. The support shown by local citizens, and even those outside the area who want to help, has been astounding.

One local decided to use her business, Envy Apparel in Maryville, Missouri, to make shirts and donate the funds to the flood victims. Cheyann Marrison sold over 400 shirts, raising $3,210.55. She donated that money to Community Services of Atchison and Holt counties to be used to help flood victims in those two counties.

Cheyann said, “I sold 417 shirts in both youth and adult sizes. A boutique in Iowa did this for Iowa flood victims and offered the design up to other boutiques that wanted to do the same. A lot of the flood victims are big supporters in my business so when my friend from Tarkio sent me a screenshot of the Iowa boutique offering the design out to other boutiques to use to raise money for their areas, I decided it was an awesome idea to help raise money for our community. So many are really struggling right now during this horrible disaster. I couldn’t believe we sold as many as we did, but I am so thankful because it allowed us to give back and show our support to everyone who needs it right now. I closed the sales on Friday to allow me to be able to place the order for the shirts and get the money to Community Services in Holt and Atchison counties as soon as we could.”