Cedar Rapids woman sets up GoFundMe for single mother who lost her home due to derecho

KCRG-TV9's Scott Saville talks to one woman who saw the devastation of both last month's derecho and the 2008 flood up close.
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 1:21 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Many in Cedar Rapids have now lived through both last month’s derecho and the 2008 flood.

Kelsey Hallowell is one of them. Her home in Edgewood Forest Mobile Home Park, off Johnson Avenue, in Cedar Rapids was destroyed by the derecho storm on August 10.

“The drywall fell off the ceiling, there’s a couple of window frames it broke,” Kelsey said.

“I was devastated,” Kelsey’s daughter Emaly said. “This is a place that I call home.”

Kelsey’s house was also destroyed in the 2008 flood.

“I had two kids at the time and was pregnant with my second one, and we lost our place to live in the 2008 flood,” Kelsey said. “Twice I’ve been through a disaster.”

Kelsey, a single mother of three who saved up $10,000 to buy the home, was forced to live in her van.

“I just shoved the mattress in the back of the van and that is where I slept,” she said. “It’s been rough but it will be ok.”

Betsy Borchardt heard about the damage to the Edgewood Forest Mobile Home Park and went there to see if she could help.

“And then I started asking her if it was ok if I try to help raise money and find a new home for her,” Borchardt said. “Turns out it’s going to be cheaper for us to rebuild this home.”

Betsy went to work setting up a GoFundMe page and started looking for help.

“We are going to use all the money to rebuild Kelsey’s house and whatever money is left over we will help to rebuild the next trailer,” Borchardt said. “We really need a lot of lumber if anyone wants to donate. We need 2x4′s at eight feet, and we need 2x4′s at 12 feet. If anybody can donate carpet. The carpet is totally destroyed in here. We have six volunteers so far including one man who has experience building his own home. So if anyone else wants to volunteer, we specifically really want people who have experience building.”

They expect to start rebuilding Kelsey’s home this weekend.

“I am very grateful,” Kelsey said. “It means so much to me for people that I don’t even know, people I’ve never met to step in and help me.”

“I am grateful that these people are stepping in to help us out,” Emaly said. “They are dedicating their time. They didn’t have to do this for us, but they chose to. We are thankful for that.”

“It is amazing.” Borchardt said. “I am really proud of Cedar Rapids.”

Click here to see the GoFundMe page.

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