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Farmington's Drop in the Bucket campaign overflows with generosity

Since Farmington adopted the hurricane-damaged city of Port Aransas, Texas, in the Drop in the Bucket campaign, organizers report floods of generosity.

Right away, there was a connection made to a trucking company in Rosemount.

Wayne Transports, Inc., in Rosemount decided to step up and donate a truck and driver, who will head south this weekend on the 1,350-mile trip south to Port Aransas, the island community recovering after Hurricane Harvey devastated 85 percent of homes, businesses and schools.

Wayne Transports specializes in hauling bulk commodities like asphalt, petroleum products, dry foods and chemicals for more than 60 years.

"We are just happy and we are fortunate enough to not have those problems here, and we are happy to be a part of the relief part to help those people out," said Carl Vedders, president and co-owner of Wayne Transports.

The trucking company aided with relief after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The business donated a truck and driver to transport water and cleaning supplies to Louisiana, Vedders said.

Twelve years later, a truck will be on the road again to deliver goodwill and relief. The truck plans to roll out of Pellicci Ace Hardware parking lot Saturday, Nov. 11, and arrive in Port Aransas sometime Monday. The community is invited to take part in a sendoff celebration. There will be a party from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the parking lot.

Floods of donations

The community donated more than 450 buckets of cleaning supplies put together in buckets at Pellicci Ace Hardware in Farmington.

Amy Flom with Minnesota Valley Associates Thrivent Financial in Farmington has led the strategy team and communications for the Drop the Bucket campaign.

"We are hoping for good turnout for the send-off," Flom said.

The celebration party will offer snacks, beverages and family fun games.

"It is really fun to see everyone come together and we have been able to all use our unique gifts to make sure this is a success," Flom said.

Since Farmington has adopted Port Aransas, Flom said this will be an ongoing mission and relationship. Volunteer community partners can join the Farmington Community Disaster Response.

"We have talked about making it down there to help physically with the rebuilding," Flom said.

One leader in the inspiration of the Drop in the Bucket campaign is the Rev. Andy Herzberg of Trinity Lutheran Church in Farmington.

"Right now we have over 450 buckets sold and are ready to load the truck," Herzberg said. "Thanks to the general public for coming out and buying buckets and for donating items or funds and thanks for being part of something bigger."

The Drop in the Bucket campaign is still gathering donations. The crew will load the truck with stainless steel cookware, tool sets and boxes, nails, screws, saws, coffee makers, work gloves, push mowers, silverware, microwave ovens and toasters.

Traveling to Port Aransas

The Rev. Karen Evenson, pastor of Faith United Methodist Church in Farmington, will fly to Texas to represent the church and the community of Farmington. Flom will also be flying to Texas, representing Thrivent Financial.

"One or both of us plan to meet the truck and get to know the residents of Port Aransas and help to discern the ways to be most helpful in moving forward," Evenson said. She said she will stay a couple days to meet people and help in whatever way is needed.

"It is so important to walk alongside people in the recovery efforts and to provide hope, so that we can stay connected throughout the recovery effort for the long term," Evenson said. "It really allows people to build relationships and see results of the work that is put in, and it is such an important part in the recovery, giving help."

Farmington Mayor Todd Larson and other residents have expressed an interest in making the trip to Port Aransas. As the relationship continues to grow with the two cities, more Farmington work teams plan to head south to help with all the work ahead to rebuild the city.

Being a part of a prior recovery and response mission twice after Superstorm Sandy ravaged New Jersey, Evenson offered support to communities via the United Methodist Committee on Relief in a philanthropic effort called Future with Hope.

"Whenever you can participate in the long-term recovery efforts, it is worth it and everyone sees the results," Evenson said.