Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Southbridge Mall Disaster Relief Fund Raiser

Some of you may not realize that we are located in Iowa. This year Iowa has had a lot of misfortune as far as weather and disasters. First there was a major tornado (EF-5, with estimated wind speeds up to 205 mph)in Parkersburg, IA which killed 7 people. It also destroyed a huge amount of the town. Since that happened we decided to make our tornado shelter a little more comfy for the kids and have been taking tornado warnings a little more seriously.

About 2 weeks after that happened much of Iowa was hit with major flooding. At our home our son woke us up at 4:30am to let us know he was walking around in water. He was rather confused. We got up and realized all of our bedrooms and bathroom were filling with water. The electricity had gone out several times over night and the power company had been keeping up with it. Eventually, they were too overloaded to keep up and our electricity was out for several hours. Since we aren't in a flood plain and had never flooded before we didn't have a generator setup and our sump pump was no longer running. After a few hours we were able to get all the water out but we had a lot of work ahead of us for the next few days. We got lucky. We know many of our neighbors had septic backup in their homes and instead of inches of water many had feet of water.

In our town, especially along water ways, basements were collapsing and people had to be evacuated by boat. By the end of the first day our town of about 30,000 was out of water. Our water treatment facility was flooded and they feared the water was contaminated. Our town went for 1 week without water. This affected so many things. No toilets, showers, dish washing, clothes washing, you get the idea. Things got rather primitive. All the restaurants in town were shut down. After a few days porta potties were brought in and placed every few blocks. It was difficult for any businesses to stay open because of the sanitary conditions. Our store was closed for a couple of days and we just did the best we could to keep up with online orders.

It's been over a month now since all this happened and people are still suffering. There are a lot of people that still are not in their homes and are having to pay not only their house payments, but rent for temporary living. Many families literally lost everything. I just can't imagine what that would be like.

We decided we wanted to do what we could to help out the agencies that support our community for disaster relief. It's just nice to know they are there when you need them. You never know when you or your family might need them. We decided to ask the mall our store is in to support a fund raiser. They were behind us 100% and thought it was an excellent idea. We started collecting donations of rummage sale items at the mall in drop boxes about 3 weeks ago. It was unbelievable how quickly word got around and we had an entire store full of items. It took quite a bit of time, but eventually we were able to get those items sorted and hung on racks. We also collected silent auction donations from local businesses. We didn't quite reach our goal of $5000, but we got close. We raised just over $4000 in a day and a half. I'm sure with a few more volunteers and a little more time for the sale we could have done a lot more, but it was time to get back to our work and families. Check out our photo gallery to see pictures of the big sale! All proceeds were split equally between our local Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way.

Make the most of the rest of your summer!!

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