Lutherans help with hurricane relief
Group buys supplies for Houston
By PETER KASPARI
When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Texas, and devastated the city last month, a local group of Lutherans came together to help get survivors the supplies they needed to recover.
Iowa District West of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, in Fort Dodge, reached out after the hurricane had hit to see if there was anything it could do.
Ellie Menz, of Jefferson, who is the disaster relief coordinator for the Iowa District West, said they started working with a school that needed assistance.
“We connected with the school, connected with the people there,” Menz said. “It’s a big school. 800 kids.”
The school responded that they needed building supplies, in particular Sheetrock, to help rebuild.
“That’s where I got on it and I put the word out to people,” Menz said.
In all, 5,000 sheets of Sheetrock were needed to replace what had been damaged in the five buildings that are part of the school.
Members of the Iowa District West raised the money to buy that Sheetrock.
But Menz didn’t stop there.
Members of the Lutheran churches in Iowa District West also raised money to purchase supplies for “We Care Tubs,” which are being given to 13 faculty families at the school who lost most or all of their possessions in the hurricane.
Additionally, members of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Algona made 28 dolls and 12 monkeys that will be given to children who lost their toys in the hurricane.
Church members are also participating in Adopt-a-Family, where a needy family is assigned to either a group or person and they buy all the supplies the family requests.
On Tuesday, Menz was at the Fort Dodge Menards location, 3319 Fifth Ave. S., to help oversee all the supplies being loaded onto a truck from Ramthun Trucking, which donated its services.
That truck, which was being driven by Ramthun driver Troy Scott, left Fort Dodge on Tuesday to deliver the supplies to Houston.
Dennis Ramthun, of Ramthun Trucking, said the company had previously helped out in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida.
“People need help,” Ramthun said. “You try to help. It might come back someday.”
This week was actually the second time Ramthun Trucking drove down to Houston.
Previously, they had gone down on Sept. 18 to deliver Sheetrock and other supplies.
Menz said Holtapp Trucking, of Pomeroy, also helped by donating a flatbed truck, while tarps were donated by Keim TS, of Fort Dodge, to help with the transport.
And she added that the members of Iowa District West aren’t stopping with Hurricane Harvey.
She said the churches are already making plans to buy supplies for both Hurricane Irma relief in Florida and Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico.
“God brought a lot of people together to make this happen,” Menz said.