211 Helpline needs more volunteers for storm clean-up

Local News

Exactly one week ago, high winds, rains, and three tornadoes blew through Sioux Falls. They destroyed homes and businesses, and toppled tree after tree. There’s still a lot to clean-up. Mayor Paul TenHaken and South Dakota’s Congressional delegation are highlighting the need for more volunteers. The 211 Helpline is busier than ever, and staff hopes that continues. It’s easy for you to get involved, and Friday will mark a day of giving back to the community.

One week later, and it’s still not time to dial back recovery efforts. At least 700 callers have rung the Helpline within this week, asking for help cleaning up storm damage.

“We have calls coming in constantly,” Jamie Cody, connection center supervisor, said.

The Helpline operators pick up the phones, but they need your help to answer all of these calls.

“We’re in desperate need for volunteers at this time,” Susie Ryks, volunteer services director, said.

Ryks says there are still 100 homes in need of assistance. Right now the biggest need is for people to volunteer to haul away trees, branches, and other debris.

“People who have pickups, trucks, trailers, they can use to do that and people who have strong bodies who are able to help lift those branches,” Ryks said.

Coincidentally, Friday is the Helpline’s Volunteer Sioux Falls.

“This was already planned before the disaster,” Ryks said.

You can sign up to help non-profits, which is the original intention, or you can step up to clean-up storm damage for the event. It may take a few hours out of your day, but Ryks says the gratitude lasts a lifetime.

“Just to hear about how grateful those homeowners are. The disabled homeowner, the elderly lady was so appreciative. They couldn’t do it without them,” Ryks said.

“Thank you for volunteering, have a good day.”

Cody says it’s amazing to see how a quick phone call can make a big difference.

“When we are fielding those calls for Sioux Falls, it almost feels like we’re a smaller community, because everybody just steps up and they have their neighbors backs,” Cody said.

To volunteer, you can visit the Helpline’s office at 1000 N West Ave Suite 310, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. You can also call 211.

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