Northeast Iowa experienced a terrific and devastating flood in August 2016. Due to this flooding, many people incurred significant damage to their homes and belongings. Because the damage was due to flooding, many are finding these losses are not covered by their insurance. We love our community, and living in an area where people stand up and lend a hand to their neighbors is part of what makes it great. It can be overwhelming to know where to start and how to be helpful when there is so much needed. To that end, here is some information that might be useful.
Some people in affected areas are just now being able to get into their homes, a day and a half after the water came in. We’ve yet to find a place with a central listing of families in need assistance with cleaning. Several local churches have been assisting their member with clean up. If a centralized location for clean-up requests is publicized, I'll post it in the comment section.
The City of Spillville is asking for volunteers to assist. If you have the time and ambition to help out, meet at the Spillville Mini Mart any time from 1-5 PM on Friday. The group will be starting to clean the historic Inwood Ballroom starting at noon Friday, as well as on Saturday and Sunday starting at 9am. Shop vacs welcome.
Spread the word: Governor Branstad made a 5-county disaster declaration today. The amount of money available to families is limited to $5,000 and is available only if household income is not more than 200% the federal poverty level. For more on that declaration and how to apply for funds, visit the DHS website. Eligible residents of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties have until October 10, 2016 to apply. If you know an affected family, please share this information, as application for funds is time-sensitive.
Chamber Flood Relief Program:
The Decorah Chamber of Commerce is setting up a Flood Relief Program similar to what they did after the 2008 flooding. This program will be administered with the assistance of Northeast Iowa Community Action, and we expect more on donation and application for funding to be posted soon. For more information, go to the Chamber's dedicated page.
Local food banks:
Food, paper goods, toiletry items. They need all of it. Keep in mind, many food banks have the ability to buy items in bulk from the greater NEIA Food Bank for drastically reduced prices. So, you don’t need to make a special trip to the grocery store to buy items to donate. Donating the money instead can be just as - or maybe a little more - helpful. Contact information and locations for all area food pantries can be found on the Iowa Food and Fitness website.
Do you have things hanging out in your house that are loved but unused? Tables, chairs, blankets, clothes, books, kids toys, unicorns - You know. The usual. - Donate them to one of the local thrift stores! Not big on thrifting and don’t know where these places are? Here is short list of local donation options: Depot Outlet in Decorah, Spectrum Thrift Store in Decorah, South Winn Community Thrift in Calmar, St. Patrick’s Thrift Store in Waukon.
***Do you have furniture to give, but not the transportation or ability to haul it? The Depot will come to get it! Call them at 563-382-2700 to arrange.***
There are several family-specific donation campaigns going on at GoFundMe.com. They can be found by going to the site and searching by town or family name. Also, there has been a local Facebook group started for those who want to donate (for free!) items to those in need. The Northeast Iowa Flood Relief Community Group can be found here. In addition, don’t forget to check out your local county public health and law enforcement pages.
Helping your neighbors is what makes NEIA (and you) awesome! Spread the word.
Photo Credit: Alexis Murphy