SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — It’s been two weeks since a burst water pipe chased guests out of the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls. Now, many of those displaced guests have returned to the mission, this time, to help with the cleanup.
Helping with cleanup duties at the Union Gospel Mission is emotionally therapeutic for Henrietta Munoz. She was one of the women forced out of the mission because of a broken sprinkler pipe the day after Christmas.
“It really was traumatic. We had people with walkers, we had kids. To try and get everyone out and okay with walkers, it was cold, it was very icy,” Munoz said.
Munoz, and the other women here, are spending their nights at the St. Francis House, while they clean up the mission during the day.
“Seven women can do a lot,” Munoz said.
Munoz had been staying at the mission since the fall, sleeping in a cubical that fortunately avoided the water damage that soaked the rest of the building.
“But where it got wet, is where all the medicines were, all the computers, all the files, everything of importance,” Munoz said.
The cleanup has been going so smoothly that the mission expects the women to return here permanently later this week, or early next week; much sooner than expected.
“I was thinking first of February and it’s going a lot faster and the community has been amazing from the donations coming in from bath soaps and laundry detergent, it has been overwhelming,” Union Gospel Mission CEO Eric Weber said.
Progress is also measured in smaller steps. The coffee machine that shorted out in the flooding is working again. One more sign of a return to normalcy at the Union Gospel Mission and for the women who are working hard to restore their lives and the building.
Weber is also hoping that the first-floor thrift shop, which was damaged in the flooding, can re-open in another couple of weeks.