'Flood Them with Love' Rescues Flood Victims from Red Tape

By Mark Geary, Reporter

The Cedar River continues to rise around City Hall and May's Island Thursday afternoon, June 12, 2008. The river rose above record levels Thursday, and is expected to crest Friday morning. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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By Mark Geary

CEDAR RAPIDS – Many flood victims have complained they aren't getting enough direct help.

Instead, they say money and donations are flowing into organizations that require piles of paperwork. Now, an organization called “Flood Them with Love” aims to change that.

"This is not charity. 'Flood Them with Love' is gifts from friends. There are people in Cedar Rapids that have not forgotten about you,” founder Karla Goettel said.

Goettel created the group because she wanted to help people who lost everything during the disaster.

"Every family has something unique. Someone's been laid off. Someone's been ill. Someone has a mental illness or some other extenuating circumstance,” flood victim Jaylynn Banks said.

What makes “Flood Them with Love” appealing is that victims don't have to pay taxes on donations they receive. That's because the group is NOT a non-profit.

"It's like having a group of friends helping you. Instead of the coldness of the organizations and the paperwork,” flood victim Nora Daub said.

"The people that I'm dealing with now in different departments and stuff, they're burnt out. Karla is not burnt out. She's still energetic and still wanting to help,” Banks said.

The main difference between this organization and others like it is that this one requires no paperwork.

"There's been no red tape, no requirements. Their purpose is to meet immediate needs,” Daub said.

What started as a simple plan to help a few families has become a full-fledged organization run entirely by volunteers.

"Now, I visualize it growing to be twice the size. I feel like it's exploding. People are becoming aware of us,” Goettel said.

At a time when so many flood victims are drowning in paperwork, Goettel's group has become a life raft.

So far, "Flood Them with Love" has helped about thirty families, raised more than thirty-thousand dollars and collected hundreds of pieces of furniture and household items.

One hundred percent of all donations go directly to flood victims.

But, the organization needs help to keep the momentum going.

If you’d like to donate money, items or storage space to the organization, contact Karla Goettel at 319.366.4217. You can also e-mail her at goettel@mchsi.com.

Click here to learn more about ‘Flood Them with Love’

Click here to see a list of the people and organizations that donated to ‘Flood Them with Love’

E-mail Mark Geary at Mark.Geary@kcrg.com or follow him on Twitter.
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