After a winter of deep snow falls, heavy mid-March rains, and soil and rivers still frozen, the first wave of flood waters struck much of the state of Nebraska on March 13th. Soon after, the loosened river ice jams barreled their way through a dam completely devastating it and releasing tons of water and frozen ice jams to wreak havoc on homes, communities, farmland, farm homes, and livestock. Every lake, river, pond, creek, in much of the state of Nebraska was spilling out of its banks. The flood waters reached the Fremont area on March 15th and quickly shut down every road leading into the city of Fremont. Fremont literally became an island. The only way in or out was helicopter or small plane. Three days later, as the water began to recede Nebraska was left with a devastating mess of homes, farms, communities, and a horrifying loss of livestock. 70% of all counties in the state of Nebraska were declared a national disaster area.
In true Nebraska form, neighbor stepped up to help neighbor and people showed up to help people. And while we are slowly recovering, many people are weary and fatigued. Your help is needed to bring hope to those homes and light to this dark moment of their lives. Please consider helping any way you feel led.
The flood may have been our past, but healing and restoration is our future. There is no devastation too great for us to come together in Jesus’ name. Project Restore was created as an effort to make a real and tangible difference in people’s homes and lives. We will be here as long as it takes to rebuild, restore, and make the future bright for the people of Nebraska. But we need your help to make this happen. Good Shepherd has become a receiving site for groups and churches from around the country. We want to encourage you and your ministry to consider partnering with us in this significant project. When you have put together your team, simply use the sign-up link above to register. We will provide housing, meals, devotions, shower facilities, tools, supplies, and plenty of work. Through the help of grants and personal donations, this opportunity comes at no cost to those who participate. Work will include mold remediation (demolition, sanitizing, cleaning, etc.) as well as construction (electrical, plumbing, drywall, mudding, etc.). Whether you assist through donations or volunteering, please prayerfully consider how you can love on our community, one person, or one house at a time.
GET THE WORD OUT
We have included videos that were made and produced entirely by national relief organizations such as Samaritan's Purse (top) and Operation Blessing (bottom) to help promote aid to the area. We hope that these videos help you bring awareness as you recruit your team.
The main emphasis of organizations like these is primarily to help with immediate relief efforts. These organizations typically help an impacted area for 2-6 weeks before moving on to another disaster. Samaritan's Purse, Operation Blessing, and others were able to help for about 4 weeks after the flood. They have since moved on to new disasters. Good Shepherd was able to learn from, and partner with organizations like these to better prepare for the long-term recovery effort. While organizations like these are no longer here, Project Restore will be here as long as it takes. There is so much work left to do, especially as we rebuild. We hope videos like these will shed light on the people, homes, and communities you will be serving.
Questions about Volunteering
What will we be doing?
As time goes on the roles of recovery crews are ever changing. However, there are still house muck outs, and yard clean-ups. We are also moving towards rebuild phase with work on the interior of the house (drywalling, mudding, painting, etc.) You may not know, for sure, what you will be doing until the day you arrive.
Who is organizing this?
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (1440 E. Military Ave Fremont, NE; gslcfremont.org) is the housing location as well as the organization that will be coordinating job sites and equipping you with needed tools for the various jobs. Good Shepherd is doing this through a grant through LCMS disaster relief, as well as generous funding from many other organizations and churches.
Where will I be staying?
On the Good Shepherd campus. You will, most likely, be housed in our gym that is equipped with restrooms and a kitchen.
Will food be provided? Most meals will be provided; however, each trip is different and you may be responsible for an occasional meal. If you have any special dietary needs, you may want to consider bringing your own food. Job site lunches will be sack lunches you prepare during breakfast. If you would like to make a free-will donation to help cover your food costs, please let us know as we welcome that kindness.
Where will I shower? A shower unit is onsite and will be utilized. It is outside the place you will be sleeping and eating, so it is recommended you have shower flip-flops and a shower tote to carry to and from the building. You will also be responsible for your own towel and toiletries. (See the what to pack list for more details)
What am I sleeping on?
In most cases, you will be sleeping on a cot (which has a mattress). You will need to bring your own bedroll (sleeping bag and pillow). If you want to bring sheets instead of a sleeping bag, you are free to do that, but no bedding will be provided. If you prefer to bring your own air mattress you may do so, but we ask that it be no bigger than a twin size air mattress.
What shall I bring to wear?
Work clothes that cover your limbs, work boots/closed-toe shoes, and your favorite work gloves. We will provide you with “Project Restore” t-shirt to wear for your work days.
What tools do I need to bring?
Tools needed for your specific job site will be provided, however, if you are bringing tools, please contact us first so we can advise you on the tools needed. Clearly label your tools! We have been blessed by numerous resources through Orphan Grain Train with materials and resources for you to complete your work and the bless the homeowners.
How will we be getting to the job site?
Your group is responsible for proper transportation to and from the job site. You might also be asked to take tools to the site if you can spare the room.
What will a typical day look like?
It depends on the job site, but in addition to working at a job site, you will have time for morning and evening devotions, and will be asked to do daily chores to help keep our facility looking nice and for the next crew coming in.
Other information you will need:
Water will be provided on the job site, but a water bottle is recommended for when you are at Good Shepherd.
Daily job and safety orientations will be provided.
Sunscreen and head coverings are also highly recommended. You will need to bring your own.
Consider what you will do in the evenings (some games, activities, will be available, but you might have other ideas)