With no power for seven days, some Cedar Rapids families rely on community resources for food

The loss of food made a major impact on some Cedar Rapids families.
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Five neighborhood resource centers opened Monday in Cedar Rapids, which will provide food and other supplies for those still in need. That’s along with updates on other services for those with nowhere else to turn.

In neighborhoods like on the city’s southeast side, the damage left behind by last week’s derecho is still easy to see.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to be because he has multiple damages that have worse damage than we do,” Pamela Smith said.

Smith and her family had lunch provided through one of the neighborhood resource centers on Monday. For the past week, Smith, her boyfriend, and five children have spent most of their time outside, trying to stay cool. Tarps are draped over their roof. Their landlord is not yet able to tell them when it can get fixed.

“We’ve been sitting out on the porch, praying to God that it stays cool,” Smith said.

Smith said just before the storm, she bought $400 in groceries, only to be thrown out a few days later.

“We can’t afford it. It’s hitting hard,” Smith said. “The financial aspect is the hardest part, making sure we have money for everything.”

Smith’s five children are doing their best to stay busy, but seven days without power can make for long days. With no idea when power will return, Smith said she’s relying on places like the new neighborhood resource centers and the Jane Boyd Community House, only a few blocks away.

“I’m thankful for it, because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how I would feed my kids,” Smith said.

Smith said she’s also helping feed older neighbors, saying there is little to do besides help each other.

“Just hold out and wait and pray to god they get it turned back on soon,” Smith said.

The resource center sites are located at:

  • Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW
  • Northwest Recreation Center parking lot, 1340 11th St NW
  • St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 1340 3rd Ave SE
  • The ROC Center at 1202 10th Street SE
  • Taylor Elementary School, 720 7th Ave SW

City employees and volunteers will operate the centers from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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