Members help provide relief in flood-ravaged Iowa

Flood-ravaged areas of Iowa received some assistance from members of the Papillion Nebraska Stake's Kanesville and Council Bluffs wards, as well as from other members of the stake on July 31.

The group of 36 youth and adults offered help to the United Way flood assistance program, reported Bishop Mark Peterson of the Kanesville Ward. The members gathered food and supplies donated by grocery stores in Council Bluffs and rode to Des Moines on a bus donated by a bus company.Meanwhile in the Midwest, there were signs that the worst of the flooding was past as the weather returned to drier summer patterns, according to the Associated Press. However, the region was facing a huge cleanup task after flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries caused more than $10 billion in damage to property and agriculture and claimed at least 46 lives.

When the Papillion Stake members arrived in Des Moines, they were assigned to work at the emergency distribution center set up by the Salvation Army in a vacant department store.

They assisted more than 1,500 flood victims by distributing supplies and groceries including blankets, children's clothing, personal items, cleaning materials, diapers and baby food. Portable canteen trucks and donation vehicles were also staffed by members. Several of the volunteers sorted donated goods for delivery in Des Moines and for shipment to flood assistance centers in Missouri.

In fast meeting the next day, Bishop Peterson reported members expressed their gratitude for being able to help. They said they were glad to work with people from other churches and organizations to provide service to those in need.

Shane Powers commemorated his 16th birthday on the service excursion, Bishop Peterson said, postponing a trip to get his driver's license. He spent the day riding on his knees in a Salvation Army supply van delivering supplies to canteens in the flood-stricken areas.

How did he enjoy his birthday?

"Fine. It was pretty cool," Shane said. "I wanted to stay there to help more."

Hiram McDonald of the North America Central Area public affairs office gathered information on the flooding's impact on members of the Church.

Throughout the Midwest, he said, many members with farms have suffered greatly. Lowland farms have been water-soaked for weeks even where they are not under water from flooding rivers. Crops have failed to mature. On higher, well-drained land, however, many crops are flourishing, Brother McDonald said.

Particularly hard hit have been businesses in low-lying areas, he reported. In the Cedar Rapids Iowa Stake, all businesses in Coralville were under water except an area called Doughnut Land, managed by a member of the Church. It was on higher ground and had been sandbagged by members.

Levee breaks along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in St. Louis flooded businesses, some owned by members of the Church. Members' homes, however, have not been damaged, Brother McDonald said.

In the Davenport Iowa Stake, one elderly member, Dorothy Clark, has been forced from her home for more than 90 days because of the flooding Rock River. She has spent the time in the home of other members of the Church.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed