Be good neighbors to those in need

It is devastating to see the spiral on the top of the iconic Marshall County Courthouse fall to the ground in a major tornado that swept through your town. More critical is the destruction of homes, businesses and other property. This community is very fortunate, given the intensity of the storm, to have not had a single loss of life.

All over Marshalltown, you see neighbor pitching in to help others.  There are a number of organizations in our community who are helping with the cleanup. Many have lost their home and their entire belongings.

Starting Tuesday, July 24 at noon, there will be a multi-agency center at the Roundhouse at the Marshalltown High School, 1602 S 2 Avenue. There, agencies who are involved in disaster assistance will be located to help everyone affected by this powerful force of nature.

During the past few days, I’ve been assisting the Red Cross, working with people who need tree removal, relaying information and doing wellness checks. If I can assist you in any way, please call me at 641-750-9278.

A number of people have asked what they can do to help. The best places to make monetary donations are the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Marshalltown Food Box. People wishing to volunteer should check with the Red Cross today and tomorrow, check with the Multi-agency Center located at the Roundhouse, Marshalltown High School, 1602 S 2 Avenue. They will open Tuesday at noon.

The Marshalltown County Landfill has waived drop-off fees for residential debris for Marshalltown residents affected by the tornado. The landfill is asking for yard waste to be dropped off at the compost site and household or building debris to be dropped off at the landfill. The compost site is located at 900 Woodland Street in Marshalltown. The landfill is located at 2313 Marshalltown Boulevard. In order to waive the drop-off fee, residents just need to write down their names and the address from which the debris is coming. The landfill is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation Friday for Lee, Marshall, Polk and Van Buren counties in response to severe storms and tornadoes July 19 and continuing. The governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of this severe weather and activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program.

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $41,560 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website at http://dhs.iowa.gov/disaster-assistance-programs. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.

Disaster Case Management is a program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit www.iowacommunityaction.org.

Residents of counties impacted by the recent severe weather are asked to report damage to help local and state officials better understand the damage sustained. Damage to property, roads, utilities and other storm-related information may be reported. This information will be collected by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and shared with local emergency management agencies. Report damage through the form provided by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (https://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov).

I might the only one, but the last five days seem like a lifetime. The first night, I woke up every so often thinking I had a terrible dream and then was reminded of the reality of what has happened in our community. I do know that we will recover. We all have strength and courage, and we all need to be good neighbors to those among us who lost so much.