Woodbury School offers free clothing

Shoes, diapers, blankets and more also available at elementary gym

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Families all over Marshalltown can find clothes, shoes, diapers and other items at the Woodbury Elementary gym this week. The school is hosting a free giveaway of such items to help victims of the July 19 storm.

The Woodbury Elementary neighborhood on the northeast side of Marshalltown was one of the hardest hit areas in the July 19 tornado — the school is doing what they can to help neighbors in the area.

“I had the idea of a clothes and shoes giveaway after working with the Woodbury School neighborhood with tornado cleanup,” said Woodbury second grade teacher Becky Jacobson. “There is a great deal of devastation there.”

Once the call for donations of clothes like shirts, pants, socks, undergarments and shoes went out, items flooded the Woodbury gymnasium. The giveaway will run Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

“Over-pouring community help has now brought household items and even food and bedding and everything you could imagine,” said Woodbury first grade teacher Megan Bergman. “We have volunteers from the school, from the district, but then we have community volunteers that are here helping … we’re really just sorting through the donations and getting them to the table so families can take what they need.”

While many of the clothes were stacked neatly on tables set up in the gym Monday and Tuesday, unorganized clothes were stacked in mountainous piles on the side of the gym.

“This is all stuff we haven’t even sorted through yet,” Bergman said, gesturing toward the piles. “We’ve said no to donations, we hate to turn people away.”

She said the flood of donations came in mostly on Sunday and continued a bit on Monday. The staff now have “plenty” of clothes, Bergman said, though she said the thought behind the extra donations is deeply appreciated.

One of several volunteers helping sort clothes and other items Tuesday was Hannah Laflin of Lakeview Camp, located south of Pella. Middle schoolers from the Christian camp also helped organize clothing.

“We are with a bunch of middle schoolers from across Iowa and we’re here for the week, staying at St. Francis school,” Laflin said. “We’re going around to different locations and just volunteering, trying to help with all the recovery after the tornado.”

Along with helping at the Woodbury clothing giveaway, she said the group has helped clear trees and debris for area families, assisted with home repairs and at various school buildings.

“Later, we’re probably going to set up a little carnival for families and kids to just kind of make it light,” Laflin said. The specific time and location of that carnival haven’t yet been decided.

Jacobson said the higher-than-expected level of donations and volunteers have enabled many families to get needed clothing and supplies as they deal with the aftermath of the tornado.

“The support from the community with this giveaway has just been wonderful and has already made a difference to so many people,” she said.

For more information, call Woodbury Elementary at 641-754-1080

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com