There were many people who worked together to coordinate the baffling logistics of organizing the incredible good will efforts from Ohio to Ashland, Kansas last month, but probably none more than Rose Hartschuh of Crawford County. Along with her husband, Greg, she tackled the massive task as the main contact for the effort, organizing the incredible donations of money and supplies and coordinating the extensive accommodations in Kansas. She also coordinated efforts with the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Livestock Association and the generosity of the towns of Minneola and Ashland in Kansas.
Here is an update Rose provided after the trip:
We are still getting tons of calls from people wanting to donate hay or fencing materials, which is awesome! However, at this point, Greg and I are not organizing any more loads. I have been encouraging people to post to the Facebook page if they have materials to donate or if they are willing to truck. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/OhioansHelpingKansas. Hopefully people can start to match themselves up.
We are also going to organize and support more groups like we just sent. We just scheduled one for May 19 though May 23. After fuel expenses have been reimbursed, we plan to send checks from the funds raised to young and beginning ranchers that Ashland community leaders identified. Hopefully these funds will help them begin to rebuild their operations. We are also going to make a cash donation to the Kansas Livestock Association. Our group left a donation with the church in Minneola and the volunteer fire department in Ashland as well. We will zero-out the donations we collected by cutting a check to the Ashland Community Foundation after the next group travels.
I think the best thing that came out of our trip is the awareness here in Ohio. It is awesome to see so many people lining up their own groups because they were inspired by what we did. I hope people realize that anyone can make a difference. You don’t have to have a convoy of 40-plus vehicles. Anyone can pitch in when there’s a need, whether it’s next door or across the country.
How you can help Kansas wildfire victims
The need for hay will continue for nearly a year. No hay donations will be turned down if the hay is transported to Ashland, Kansas. Feed and milk replacer donations are not as important at this point.
Perhaps a bigger need than hay is the need for fencing supplies. Specific materials needed include:
• Galvanized barbed wire, 14 gauge or heavier, with two- or four-point barbs
• Osage orange or creosote treated wooden posts or steel t-posts, at least six foot in length
• Preference is for new fencing materials.
All hay and fencing supplies should be delivered to Ashland Feed and Seed: 1975 County Road U Ashland, Kansas 67831 at 620-635-2856
You do not need to call ahead with supplies unless you are bringing several truckloads. Ashland Feed and Seed will unload supplies during their business hours.
Recovery efforts will last for years and costs tens of millions of dollars. Volunteer labor can be used to reduce the financial burden on ranchers. Volunteers will be used to tear out damaged fence and eventually replace it with new fence.
Free accommodations are available in Ashland at a church camp. Volunteers will need to provide their own bedding items, towels, and toiletry items. Each volunteer should plan to take a pair of durable gloves and fencing pliers.
To volunteer, contact Holly Fast at 620-408-6021. Holly can provide up-to-date information about the projects and accommodations.
Several organizations have wildfire relief funds set up to help ranchers. Here is a list of some:
• Ashland, Kansas Community Foundation: Ashlandcf.com
• Kansas Livestock Association: Kla.org
• Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers: kfb.org.