How to help in wake of Northland floodingUPDATE: For people looking for ways to help, here are other groups accepting donations and volunteers.
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
By Thursday morning, a Twin Cities musician who calls Duluth his “adopted second hometown” already had sent out a call looking for musicians interested in playing a flood relief benefit concert.
Mick Sterling, a regular on stage at the Bayfront’s bluesfest, operates the 30 Days Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for people in need of a moderate amount of money to get out of a jam: an empty refrigerator, new tires for the car, an unbudgeted hospital bill.
“I did something like this last year after the north Minneapolis tornado,” Sterling said. “The template is already in place. People have such a sentimental thing for Duluth. There are a lot of memories there.”
Sterling was working on signing on bands and securing a venue on Thursday afternoon and is one of the first to begin organizing fundraising efforts for the region after severe flooding on Wednesday. Sterling has a lot of details to work out — who, when and where — but there is a day and night of music on the horizon, Sterling said. He is trying to act fast while the flood is still fresh in people’s minds.
For the 2011 concert for Minneapolis, Sterling organized a nine-band show at Famous Dave’s in Minneapolis. The show brought in $3,700 and the proceeds were divided among people who had requested financial assistance from his organization.
People who apply for help from the 30 Days Foundation fill out an application indicating the greatest area of need: fuel cards, department store, utility bills, home improvement and grocery needs. Money raised is divided equally among applicants, but in the form of gift cards or direct payments for service rather than cash.
In 2011, the organization helped 230 families, mostly from the Twin Cities area but also in Duluth and Superior, Sterling said.
Preston Gunderson also was thinking about benefit concerts on Thursday.
The recent College of St. Scholastica graduate had more than 700 people on Facebook interested in his fundraising effort, the Duluth Benefit Concert. Gunderson said he is looking for a mix of Minnesota bands to sign on for a show in about three weeks.
Gunderson has gotten e-mails out to an ambitious list of well-known acts — Bob Dylan’s people have been approached — and his sights on the city’s premier outdoor venue.
“Although the goals are lofty, it was a significant day in the history of Duluth,” Gunderson said. “It’s a great way to give back to the community. Not only because it needs help, but because music has a healing power that brings people together. We’re trying to do something special for the city.”
Gunderson had an organizational meeting planned for Thursday night. He said to watch the event’s Facebook page for details.
Other ways to help
For people looking for ways to help, here are other groups accepting donations and volunteers.