May 30, 2024 - News

Gov. Sanders requests federal help as local relief continues

photo of walmart relief center

Free laundry services and showers are available at the Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot on South Eighth Street in Rogers. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Walmart has debuted a disaster relief operation early in light of the storms that have left some with lost or damaged homes or without electricity.

State of play: Residents can shower, drop off laundry, eat, charge their phones and use WiFi at the Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot on South Eighth Street in Rogers.

  • The company was set to unveil the multi-agency recovery center that it plans to keep on hand for natural disasters next week at its annual Associates Week, spokesperson Joe Pennington told Axios. It's a partnership with Tide, P&G and Matthew 25 Ministries.

The latest: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday requested a major disaster declaration from President Biden to help Arkansans affected by storms.

  • The request includes assistance for Benton, Boone and Marion counties, plus individual assistance and federal Small Business Administration disaster loans.

Zoom in: Some downtown Rogers businesses were still closed on Wednesday as they were without power. Flashback Pizza and Milkshakes hasn't been able to operate its restaurant but has been cooking up burgers and hot dogs for first responders and people affected by the storms with donated food items.

  • The restaurant plans to continue as long as it receives donations, co-owner Dustin Simmons told Axios. They've seen hundreds of people — some without electricity and some who have lost their homes — take them up on it since they started Sunday.
  • Likewise, Springdale-based Casa Alejo on Wednesday was cooking tacos outside its future downtown Rogers restaurant.
photo of people grilling at Flashback
Flashback Pizza and Milkshakes co-owner Dustin Simmons grills up lunch for folks Wednesday in Rogers while the restaurant's power is out. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios
photo of free snacks
Downtown Rogers businesses like Onyx Coffee, Kaleidoscope Collective and Dandy Roll put out items like free water bottles and snacks. Photos: Alex Golden/Axios

Zoom out: "A limited number" of National Guard members will help Thursday with recovery work like traffic control and flagging for utility work, according to the city of Rogers. Sanders said late Tuesday that she had authorized the National Guard to help with recovery efforts in Benton County.

What happened: Benton County had seven tornadoes on Sunday, including an EF3 in Decatur, according to a Wednesday report from the National Weather Service. An EF5 is the most intense rating.

By the numbers: Walmart, Sam's Club and Walmart Foundation are donating $2 million toward storm relief, including grants to organizations providing relief. The company is working with NWA nonprofits on immediate needs for food, water, clothing and household items, according to a news release.

Closures, delays and cancellations:

  • Trails in Rogers and most city parks remain closed. Mount Hebron and Railyard Bike Park are open. The library, adult wellness center and historical museum are closed.
  • Arkansas Public Theatre's season is postponed indefinitely. The organization had planned showings of "Kinky Boots" and "Rent" at the Victory Theater in downtown Rogers and will honor tickets already purchased for future showings, according to a news release.
  • Several Benton County offices are closed until further notice: the Rogers office on West Walnut Street; Circuit Court at 102 Northeast A St. in Bentonville; the Assessor & Collector's office on Southwest D Street in Bentonville; the Assessor & Collector's office in Gravette and the Siloam Springs satellite office.
  • The Momentary is open, but planned events there this week are canceled or postponed. The venue is evaluating the John Legend concert set for Saturday. The trails and grounds surrounding Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art are closed.

Resources:

  • Walmart and Tyson Foods will continue to give away meals from 11am-5pm Thursday and Friday at the Walmart parking lot at 922 W. Walnut St. in Rogers.
  • Nabholz Construction will provide food to residents and emergency workers 3-6pm Thursday at Rogers High School.
  • Arkansas Legal Aid will help with insurance claims, legal paperwork and personal identification replacements.
  • For any property damaged during the storms, use the Benton County Citizen Damage Reporter to make a record and contribute to the database.
  • Crystal Bridges invites the community for respite. Its summer hours are 10am-6pm Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and 10am-8pm Thursday and Friday.
  • The Walmart disaster relief center will be available through at least Saturday. The charging station is available 24/7; laundry 9am-5pm; showers 9am-6pm; and barbecue 11am-4pm.
  • More resources

Cleanup:

  • Residents can drop off vegetative debris like logs and leaves at the Benton County Fairgrounds north parking lot off of South Vaughn Road 7am-7pm Monday through Saturday until further notice.

Things to know: Updates are available on the Benton County Facebook page.

More storm coverage:

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