PIERRE, SD -
Families in the Pierre and Fort Pierre area are still working to get back into their homes following this summer's devastating flood.
There are still 15 to 20 families who can't live in their homes while they repair the damage done by the Missouri River, and many of those families are struggling to pay for all the repairs.
Travis and Peggy Frost are one of those families who are just trying to put their Fort Pierre home back together.
"We've been there for about six months and we'll probably be there for another three or four before the house is ready to be moved back into," Peggy said.
The Frosts have been living with friends since the water on the Missouri River came up in May. They were protected by a levee, but two feet of water still filled their basement before the levee was built. Now, they're gutting their entire basement; and flood insurance isn't covering all the costs.
"If our house had blown away in a tornado, if our house had started on fire, we would have been better off and everything would have been paid for. Flood insurance doesn't cover much. They're covering maybe half of what this is going to cost us to fix," Frost said.
Several of the Frosts' neighbors aren't living in their homes either until they remove the mold, dirt and damage left behind.
A group called the Oahe Long Term Disaster Recovery Team is trying to raise $1.2 million to help fill that gap between the costs to fix that damage and what insurance will cover.
"We're just trying to meet those unmet needs and try and help folks get back to where they need to be to get started over," Kellie Yackley with the team said.
The group organized earlier this fall and has only raised $120,000. Now they've started a campaign where you can text the word FLOOD to 85944 and automatically donate $10 to the recovery efforts.
"At the end of the month when you get your cell phone bill, it will say $10 to the flood relief project so you just pay it as part of your normal monthly bill," Yackley said.
The group is also taking check and credit card donations online and through the mail.
They are hoping the giving spirit of the holidays will help those still struggling this time of year.
"Here we are, almost Christmas time, it's cold outside, and you think the flood was a long time ago. But for a lot of these homeowners, the flood is today. It's still going on. Until they're back into their homes and back to a point where it feels normal again, it really isn't over for them," Yackley said.
And the Frosts hope some help will help them pay their bills and get their lives back to normal.
"We just hope it's going to be enough to at least get some of the needs taken care of down here," Frost said.
Again, you can send in a $10 donation by texting the word FLOOD to 85944.
You can also help with the efforts by sending donations to the South Dakota Community Foundation by clicking on this link.
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