Iowa Derecho Storm Resource Center still in need of volunteers, donations as numbers drop

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 10:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - More than two months after the derecho devastated parts of eastern Iowa, organizers at the Iowa Derecho Storm Resource Center in Cedar Rapids said they’re still serving about 300 people a day.

“Donations have slowed down, but daily, we’re still getting them — just not as frequently or as many as we were before,” community organizer Raymond Siddell said.

Siddell said the same can be said of volunteers.

The resource center is still organizing volunteer cleanup days and plans to schedule more in the near future because the need is still unfilled for some people.

Volunteers are helping out at those cleanups, but not as much as they were before, according to Siddell.

“I would attribute that to a lot of different things — of course the weather, people getting back on their feet with their own properties, maybe their business or place of employment is back up and running,” Siddell said.

He said the drop in volunteers is concerning, especially because there’s still so much more debris and trees to clean up.

“To think that at some point, snow might be piled on top of that as well, plus slippery streets,” he said. “I mean, it’s absolutely terrifying to think that some of that debris is still out there, and as we know, the city is working fast and hard to get it cleaned up, but as soon as they clean it up, more is brought to the curbside.”

As of Sunday, crews had completed a first pass to clear debris from 92% of streets in Cedar Rapids.

Siddell said they’re trying to get as much debris to the curbside before crews start and finish their second pass of pickup.

But they need more volunteers to do this.

“Locals are tired. They’ve been doing this for over two months now,” he said. “I can’t stress enough to outsiders, that, hey if you’ve got a group of people that can spend a weekend here, it will make a huge impact.”

Siddell said they could always use more helping hands at the resource center at 4001 1st Ave. SE, along with donations, especially pantry staples like bread, peanut butter, and jelly.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer or donate can contact the Iowa Derecho Storm Resource Center at (319) 432-9754, via its Facebook page, or sign up online by clicking here.

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