Winter brings a new set of needs for the tornado-affected populace
Winter brings new concerns for those affected by the tornado, and the Long-Term Recovery Committee is staying on top of them.
The Rev. Del Moen, chair of the Long-Term Recovery Committee, said that mental health was important as well as physical and financial needs.
"Some of the needs that we're experiencing now are needs for people to have some support group kinds of help. Concerns about health of marriages, concerns about depression, none of the fun stuff that people like to talk about in other words," he said. "Normally this time of year we go through Seasonal Affective Disorder when things start getting dark early and cold."
Moen said that some people get depressed due to limited light and longer hours of darkness.
"If you're affected by that, you need to have the lights on and be out in the sunshine as much as possible," he said.
"There are issues of mental health and issues of spiritual health. We have a subcommittee made up of health care professionals and clergy that are working on providing resources," he said.
Winter brings other issues.
"The utility bill is a big one," Moen said, adding that it is especially hard on those who were already financially struggling before the tornado. He said the committee provides free labor if needed and has a contractor on staff.
The Long-Term Recovery Committee now has a case load of almost 100 individuals and families.
"If you've got a legitimate need we'll help. And I think people are finally catching on to that," he said.
Case worker Wendy Molstad determines the ability for the recovery committee to help, he said.
The organization, whose fiscal agent is the Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council, is able to provide about $5,000 per household, which Moen said meets the needs of most clients.
"We are still in the midst of fundraising because some of the cases are going to need a little more significant funding," Moen said.
He said that the budget was well accounted for.
"Jeff Browne is our treasurer and is very good at reporting on that. The process works pretty well. I think we are meeting people's needs," he said.
According to Moen, not all struggles are obvious.
"When you put up a new house it's nice and shiny and new on the outside, but there's still a lot of trouble and problems," he said.
Moen encouraged those who need help to stop at the tornado recovery center at the old Borealis Bookstore building. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Long-Term Recovery Committee can also be contacted by phone at (218) 632-7905.