Hamburg School Fills Many Roles In Flood Emergency

HAMBURG – The Marnie Simons Elementary School in Hamburg is playing a number of roles during this spring’s flood, including a shelter for evacuees, a headquarters for city hall, a job fair and Salvation Army collection center.

The night the flooding started, the school hosted 50 people who had been evacuated. Those people were moved to United Faith Church at Sidney, after Hamburg lost city water service.

Superintendent Mike Wells said the school’s role has only grown since then.

Wells: “Right now is that we serve three meals a day, hot meals, for anyone who needs it. Our students are in school, so our students are also providing  laundry service and delivering water and doing those things.

The elementary school is also housing the Salvation Army collection center for displaced flood victims.

Elementary Teacher Lora Lea Owen said Thursday she and her middle school students have been impressed by the outpouring of support.

Owen: “It’s amazing. Several communities around us. We had a semi-truck from Nebraska, from Iowa. We have one from South Dakota coming. Just everybody is bringing things to us.”

The school also hosted Iowa Workforce on Friday for people who have lost employment because roads to their workplaces are cut off.

Wells: “It’s been a real team effort. We appreciate all the partners. The Salvation Army is giving cleaning supplies to folks and telling them how to do it properly.”

A local pastor has set up trailers for people to stay in. A man from Texas has donated a 70,000 Watt generator to help Hamburg when it begins to pump water.

Owen: “By all these volunteers. I mean there are tons of volunteers out in the hallway, tons of volunteers behind me. Just everybody working together to try and do their best to help everybody out.”

The collection center is open most days 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Displaced people may also contact the school superintendent during times that operations are paused.

Wells: “You know, God’s work is amazing and we’re thankful. Even though it’s a tragic situation, it’s good to see a community come together. We’re, without a doubt, going to come back bigger and stronger than ever.”

Wells recommended people donate gift cards, saying many flood victims are in need of vehicle fuel.