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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People throughout KELOLAND helped raise more than $130,000 to help 60 households clean up after three tornadoes hit Sioux Falls in September 2019.

Some of that money is still being distributed six months after the EF2s went through the city.

Patrick Gale is the Vice President of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. He says the organizations were immediately able to distribute funds to people who were displaced by the tornadoes. Plus, the fund helped people who needed assistance with tree removal and flooding.

“We’ve been inspired by the generosity of people in this area for more than 35 years, and this was a perfect example. After the tornadoes and flooding last year, volunteers showed up at the Helpline Center eager to lend a hand, and individuals donated to a fund that we established at the Community Foundation. We got gifts from families, businesses, individuals, children,” Gale said.

Janet Kittams is the CEO of the Helpline Center. The center was somewhat of the middle man for people looking for help and people wanting to help.

“Shortly after the tornado hit Sioux Falls, we took calls from people who needed assistance and who also wanted to help. So those folks that needed assistance we, often times, were able to provide volunteers for them, but some of our families and households needed a greater amount of assistance. And we knew that they needed some financial funds to recover. So, the fund was set up at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. We also took call from people who wanted to donate to the fund and we sent them that way,” Kittams said.

The Helpline Center took all the information from the people who needed additional financial assistance. They then provided that info to the committee who viewed all the cases and distributed the funds.

“We know our assistance doesn’t make them whole, but we hope to be a big hug from the community,” Gale said.

Kittams says if you’re seeking help or wanting to volunteer for any kind of disaster response, reach out to the Helpline Center.

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