The do’s and don’ts of giving to tornado relief efforts
Many organizations are pulling together resources to help Iowans impacted by the May 25 tornado and flooding. Information is also available for people who would like to help tornado and flood victims.
Best donation methods
Iowa Homeland Security officials have a few guidelines when donating:
• Give cash donations.
• Give to a reputable charity or faith-based organization.
• If you’d like to volunteer, contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
• Don’t show up at the disaster site. On-site volunteers must be approved before entering the disaster area.
• Don’t donate new and used items unless they are specifically requested. Storing and managing these items can tax responders who are addressing basic recovery needs.
"We understand and appreciate that Iowans want to help immediately," said Iowa Homeland Security’s Dave Miller. "At this time, the best way to assist is with cash donations to disaster relief organizations and faith-based organizations that help with these types of disasters. The people of Parkersburg will have long-term needs to rebuild and that’s when donated items and volunteers will be very useful."
For a list of organizations that are providing disaster assistance, go to http://www.iowahomelandsecurity.org and click on the May 25 Tornado link on the right side of the home page.
Farmers or rural residents who would like help with cleanup are encouraged to contact the Butler County Extension office at (319) 267-2707 or the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985. Cleanup activities could include picking up debris
in fields or cleaning up building sites.
The Iowa 4-H Foundation has established a special fund to assist with relief efforts for 4-H families.
The special Iowa 4-H Foundation fund will help
4-H families with relief and recovery efforts, community reconstruction projects, scholarships for 4-H’ers to attend camps and other programs, and provide assistance to recover or repair
4-H projects damaged or destroyed.
To donate to the fundraising effort, visit the Iowa 4-H Foundation Web site at www.iowa4hfoundation.org and click on the "Donate Now" button. On the following webpage check the "Single Year Gift" button. Next, type "Tornado Relief" in the "Other Designation" box, and type in your gift amount; donations of any amount are appreciated. Then complete the contact and verification information sections of the online form. All gifts are tax deductible.
People who find personal items among the debris are asked to send it to the Butler County Courthouse where owners can reclaim it. The address is Butler County Courthouse, 428 6th St., P.O. Box 325, Allison, IA 50602. People in Wisconsin have found personal papers and photos belonging to Butler County residents.
USDA Rural Development is offering special housing assistance to storm victims.
USDA Rural Development, which has helped finance apartment complexes in rural Iowa, is working with local apartment managers to make available all vacant units for storm victims.
More than 90 vacant USDA Rural Development-financed apartments are in Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy and Hardin counties.
Rural Development is offering Emergency Community Water Assistance grants to assist communities that have significant drinking water.
For more information, call USDA Rural Development at (515) 284-4663.
Braley has office hours
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley said staffers from his Waterloo office will hold office hours in the five communities impacted by the May 25 tornado until the end of June. Braley’s staff will be holding weekly office hours in Dunkerton, Hazelton, Lamont, New Hartford, and Parkersburg weekly through June 30.
Braley staff will be at the Parkersburg Veterans Memorial building every Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be at the Lamont City hall Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
They will be at the Hazelton City Hall Wednesday’s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will be at the Dunkerton City Hall Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and at the New Hartford City Hall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.