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Derecho Resource Center needing help following spike for services

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Almost a year later, Raymond Siddell, the man who organized the Derecho Resource Center, said it’s still surreal.

“It’s been crazy to think back and go last August, we were running around in the heat of the Summer trying to help as many people as possible,” Siddell said.

Now, there’s another rush of demand, with the need growing in recent weeks.

“That increase is specifically the number of new clients that we’re seeing come through the door that are filling out paperwork for the first time and seeking our services for the first time,” Siddell said.

New clients into the center increased 28% from May to June. So far, July has seen a 10% increase from June. From January to June, they’ve served an average of 797 households per month, including their food box giveaways. They went from serving a daily average of 16 households a month ago to 28 currently.

Siddell said he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that the demand increased around the same time federal unemployment benefits ended last month. He also pointed to ongoing insurance issues and needed repairs.

“The recovery efforts, although physical damage when you drive around may seem completed or at least addressed, for the most part, there might be interior damage that you can’t see,” Siddell said.

They’re also looking for more volunteers with only five people consistently able to help. Siddell hopes a Together We Achieve event next month can be a celebration of resilience.

“I think we all should just reflect on this last year, and be very proud in the community that we live in and be proud of our community members. We should be proud of what we were able to do in such a short period of time to get people on the road to recovery,” Siddell said.

The Derecho anniversary festival hosted by the organization will be on August 7 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Green Square Park.

If people are looking to volunteer, they can call the center or sign up on the Together We Achieve website.

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