It's not unusual for out-of-town volunteer teams to come to Hope Village to serve. That is, after all, the point of the unified volunteer center for flood recovery, which organizes housing, meals and jobs for volunteer teams that come to Minot.
But unlike most of the groups, the majority of the Northern Wisconsin Lutheran Women's Missionary League team didn't come to rebuild; they came to prepare and serve meals for the other 100-odd volunteers.
Of the six-person team that arrived on June 9, four traveled from Wisconsin specifically to assist Hope Village's chef, Jennifer Kelley, in preparing and serving meals during the week.
From left, Northwest Wisconsin LWML members Mary Schultz, Kaye Natzke, Meta Krueger and Dee Strack assisted the Hope Village’s chef, Jennifer Kelley, in bandana, in preparing meals for flood rebuild volunteers.
Dee Strack, Mary Schultz, Meta Krueger and Kaye Natzke brought some ideas for cooking, and took over the Village's 30-foot mobile disaster kitchen unit as they prepare meatloaf, chicken and Polish sausages, as well as making treats such as fresh-squeezed lemonade, chocolate-chip muffins and cinnamon rolls.
The crew members also took it upon themselves to tidy up the Hope Village shower units and dining tent, putting in as many hours as their teammates Judy and Don Pelot, who worked on rebuilding homes.
Last year, the LWML members decided to send a team to Minot after seeing an article in the August 2012 issue of The Lutheran Witness.
"We said, 'We're gonna do this,'" said Krueger, who's from Clintonville, Wis.
But as time passed, some members could no longer make the commitment and had to back out.
Still, the team felt led to serve in Minot, so a call was put in to Village Coordinator Steve Carbno.
"We said, 'We can't do drywall, but we want to help. Can we still come?'" Krueger said. "He asked what week and when we told him, he said we could help Jen.
"We told him we would be honored to do that."
Even prior to their arrival, the women were at work for Hope Village. They set out to bake cookies, packaging them in decorated tubs.
The cookies were then made available at Hope Village with a request for donations. Through the sale of the baked goods, the LWML group raised $140 to be used toward flood recovery.
Hope Village works with homeowners who are most vulnerable; the poor, the disabled and those who will have the hardest time recovering. Uninsured and under-insured homeowners receive assistance in clean up, repair and rebuilding of their homes. The process of case management identifies those who are in greatest need and they receive help by a priority system.
So far, Hope Village has served over 3,500 volunteers that have contributed over 100,000 labor hours toward the rebuild.
There are still about 120 homes remaining on Hope Village's list. The homes are in varying stages of completion.
Volunteers are still needed. To find out how to help, see (hopevillageND.org).