While plans for a temporary shelter for evacuees at Camp Ripley were abandoned in favor of long-term settlement of survivors, the monetary donations have flowed in to organizations such as the United Way, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army in Brainerd raised more than $45,000 for victims of the disaster. But its food shelf is in dire need of food at this time, officials said.
The Crow Wing County United Way, which will send four semi-truckloads of clothing to Mississippi, raised about $4,000. Monetary donations, which continue to be accepted, will be used to defray the expense of transporting the clothes to the Gulf Coast. Contributions may be sent to UW Hurricane Relief, P.O. Box 381, Brainerd, MN 56401.
George Stowe, executive director of the Bemidji-based North Star Chapter of the Red Cross, said about $220,000 has been raised in the Bemidji and Brainerd areas. Brainerd's Red Cross office, Stowe said, is operating under the direction of the Bemidji chapter.
"This would be the largest amount of donated dollars we've received for any disaster and that speaks to the tremendous generosity of folks in the area," Stowe said.
He said about $570 million has been raised nationally by the Red Cross.
"This is going to be a hugely expensive disaster," he said. "That's not going to meet all the needs. There's going to be an ongoing need."
Volunteers willing to travel to the Gulf Coast states continue to be needed, Stowe said.
In Aitkin, a radio telethon conducted on Thursday on KKIN raised about $60,000, said Aitkin Mayor J. Mark Wedel, who took a stint behind the microphone. The fund-raiser ran from 6 a.m. Thursday until noon Friday. Among the callers who phoned in their support, Wedel said, were Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and WCCO television anchor Don Shelby.
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5860.
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