In 2017 congregations were invited to bring flood buckets to the Synod Assembly.

Flood buckets contain essential cleaning supplies that can help families and communities affected by flooding, tornadoes or other disasters.

Usually, by the time flooding has occurred, these items are in short supply and familaffected don’t have the time or means to shop for cleaning supplies.  Having fully assembled buckets available make the overwhelming job of clean-up after a disaster just a little bit easier.

Congregations responded enthusiastically and more than 150 buckets were collected and stored throughout the synod so they would be ready when needed


As reported in August, they were needed.   Later that summer we handed out buckets in Sumner after flooding.

50 buckets delivered to the Mason City Fired Department last week.

About a week ago we delivered nearly the last of the buckets to Mason City after they experienced flooding.

It’s time to replenish our supply.

We are inviting congregations again to prepare buckets so that we will have them on hand when (not if) they are needed.


What goes in a bucket?

  • One five-gallon bucket with resealable lid (if bucket has been used, clean well but do not use if it has held any chemicals) Note- These can be found at Menards.

Also–Tidy Cat 27 lb. kitty litter buckets work well!

  • Four scouring pads

  • One Scrub brush

  • Five dust masks

  • Seven sponges, assorted sizes (at least one fairly hefty for washing mold)

  • Eighteen cleaning towels (resusable, like Easy Wipes)







  • One 12 bottle liquid concentrated household cleaner (like Lysol)

  • One 25 oz. bottle liquid disinfectant dish soap (like Dawn)

  • One 50 oz. or two 25 oz. bottles liquid laundry detergent

  • One package of 48-50 clothespins

  • Clotheslines, two 50 ft. or on 100 ft.




  • Two pairs latex gloves (long heavy-duty, like Playtex dishwashing gloves, not the thin ones for painting)

  • 28 bag roll of heavy duty trash bags (30-45 gallon)

Place all the items into the bucket, making sure they are packed securely to avoid damage during shipment.  Snap the lid on tight and seal with packing tape.  You can take items like trash bags out of their boxes and masks taken out of packaging and put in zip lock bags to save space in the bucket.


PLEASE do not substitute, omit or add items.

What we have heard is that people prefer and even ask for the “Lutheran buckets,” when they are distributed with other buckets, because we have been very good about following the instructions exactly so people have what they need. We have a reputation to uphold!

What you CAN add is a little card or note from your congregation with good wishes.  You can add a note in the bucket or tape a message on the outside of the bucket.

Many of these items can be found at Dollar stores at a savings.  You can also use your Thrivent grants to purchase items.  Also it doesn’t hurt to speak to store managers and ask what they would be willing to donate. Offer to add a “Donated by” label.

Be sure to contact Pastor Mark Anderson at the Synod Office and let him know how many buckets you have.  The Synod Disaster Network will coordinate collecting buckets and bringing them to strategic storage facilities around the synod.

Thank you again for helping people in times of crisis.

It’s not just the helpfulness of the buckets (and they are VERY helpful), but knowing people care and are willing to help in difficult times.

A reproducable bulletin information with this information is available to download at the Northeastern Iowa Synod Disaster Network Page


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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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