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Posted 7/06/11 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

If you are like me, you are probably wondering what you can do to help all of the people in the state that have been impacted in the last month by rivers. The first flood came as record spring runs and snowfall filled Lake Sakakawea to the brim and flooded all of the old flood plain along the Missouri River in Burleigh and Morton counties. The flooding caused hundred of families who lived in the flood plain to flee their homes as waters flowed where no water has been in a hundred years. But the flooding that followed in Minot and other communities along the Souris River drainage area was horrific.
In Minot alone, as many as 10,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes. And the same story is told over and over again in other communities along the river as homeowners and business owners saw their most prized possessions flooded.
But yet, even among the tragedy that the flooding has brought to these people and to the communities involved, the resilience of North Dakotans is amazing. And so is the way that other North Dakotans have responded
With 10,000 people displaced in Minot, it would have been logical to assume that the emergency shelters would be packed with people sleeping on cots like we saw when New Orleans flooded. But that was not the case in Minot. By one news account, only 350 people were staying in emergency shelters. Where were the rest? They were staying in the homes of other people in Minot who literally opened their doors and their hearts to their neighbors.
And within the last week, companies and businesses across North Dakota have been contributing significant funds to help in the flood recovery efforts. The Hess Corporation, who has been involved in the state’s oil industry since the 1950s, was one of the first companies to step forward with a one million dollar contribution to the North Dakota Flood Relief. That donation was followed by another million dollar gift from CHS, Inc. to aid flood victims. And the list of companies who have stepped forward to provide much needed financial assistance goes on and on.
It is truly heartwarming to see the way that companies and individuals have opened their hearts and their wallets to come to the assistance of these people whose lives were devastated along with their homes and businesses.
Which brings me to the question that I’ve heard so many people ask, “What can I do?”
The very best answer is to give whatever you can afford to help in the relief efforts. As always happens in situations like this there are going to be the unscrupulous who try to scam well-meaning individuals out of their contributions. So if you are so inclined to make a contribution, here are two North Dakota groups that are actively working to bring aid and relief to our fellow North Dakotans:
    North Dakota 2011 Flood Relief Fund
    PO Box 387
    Bismarck, ND 58502
or to the
    Minot Area Community Foundation
    Wells Fargo Center
    15 2nd Avenue SW, Suite 102
    Minot, ND 58701
With all of our help, we can help these communities come back from the devastation and the sense of hopelessness that they now feel.
North Dakotans helping North Dakotans - that’s what we have always done best. And there is no  doubt that the state’s citizens will once again find a way to help in whatever way they can.