No Longer Headlines, Iowa Relief Needs Continue

Post a Comment » Written on July 28th, 2008     
Filed under: News
OMAHA, NE (July 28, 2008) – The nation’s newspapers and network news programs no longer carry stories about the June floods that destroyed homes and crops throughout the Midwest, but much work remains to help residents recover and rebuild their lives.

“The enormity of the ongoing crisis is best described by the fact that an estimated 38,000 homes across the state of Iowa are uninhabitable,” says Ken Carlson, superintendent of the Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. “It is no longer getting the national press that Katrina received because Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and other smaller communities like Decorah don’t compare in size to New Orleans.”

Tim and April Kruckman, members of the Decorah Covenant Church, are living in the vacation home of a Covenanter who lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The first level of the Kruckmans’ house was built several feet above flood stage for the Turkey River, which still wound up flowing through the building.

“It flooded our basement and there was about a foot and a half (of water) in the first floor,” says April. She still was cleaning the house this past weekend.

Individuals in different communities have been helping friends clean or have volunteered with organizations such as the United Way, says Tammy Swanson-Draheim, pastor of First Covenant Church in Mason City, Iowa. She received a letter on Friday from a local resident expressing appreciation for help received from church members.

Showing that Iowans have not lost their sense of humor, the resident enclosed a picture of him holding up a large fish with the notation, “Look what I found in the basement.”

The church generally does work in the community on months that have a fifth Sunday. In June, they moved sandbars that had been left in a local park by the receding waters. Members also have been helping repair the home of a church member whose home was severely damaged.

Carlson says he hopes Covenanters will respond with work crews and finances to help residents of the region. Relief networks gradually are being established through several organizations with which Covenanters can work.

Samaritan’s Purse, with whom the Covenant has worked on other projects, is setting up a relief program in Cedar Rapids.

The national Vineyard USA has established a network. The network asks for a minimum three-day commitment, and reservations have to be made in advance with them before coming. Volunteers must be at least 18 or older.

Another network called Eight Days of Hope is making arrangements to work in Cedar Rapids in late October or early November, Carlson says.

The River Community Church in Iowa City is making its facilities available to groups up to 40 people.

So far Covenanters have contributed roughly $10,000 to a special Covenant World Relief fund that was established to help with relief and reconstruction efforts. People wanting to give can contribute online.

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