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By Ann Arbor Miller, Published April 13 2009

In View: "Spreading comfort"

The Salvation Army is spreading comfort one cleanup kit at a time.

Every year the organization and its volunteers hand out thousands of kits to American families whose homes have been damaged by flood, fire or other calamity. Each kit contains a mop head and handle, broom, sponge, scrub brush, squeegee, trash bags, bleach, Pine-Sol and two kinds of gloves.

While the supplies, which have a retail value of roughly $40, won’t fix basements recently filled with Red River water, they certainly come in handy for residents dealing with seepage and minor flood damage.

“I really like to call them comfort kits,” said Steve Carbno, disaster coordinator for The Salvation Army of Cass and Clay counties. “It shows these folks we care and gives them something to start with.”

On a recent Wednesday evening, volunteers Chad Trangsrud and Arnie Ellingson -- both of Fargo -- spent several hours stationed on rural Wall Street North in Oakport Township, Minn., handing out dozens of cleanup kits. Oakport is located north of Moorhead.

Oakport resident Sharon Larson, who lives nearby on Second Street, was among those who stopped to pick up a kit. Her family lost two rooms in their basement to floodwater. She offered her thanks to Trangsrud and hugged Ellingson.

“Any help we can get is amazingly cool,” she said.

For more information: Area residents whose homes were damaged by floodwaters, can request free cleanup kits from The Salvation Army or the American Red Cross. The Salvation Army plans to have several distribution points around the Fargo-Moorhead area. Call (701) 232-5565 for specific locations. Kits from the American Red Cross are available at the organization’s local office, 2602 12th St. N., Fargo, or by calling (701) 364-1800.

View In View: "Spreading comfort" in a larger map

“In View” is a photo column by Fargo-based photojournalist Ann Arbor Miller focusing on everyday people and places in our community. Look for it Mondays in The Forum. To suggest future column ideas, e-mail annarbormiller [at] gmail[dot]com.