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Relief officials say Marshalltown immigrant families should not fear seeking help

The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) will be available Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m. – noon for everyone in need of assistance or with questions. To use the center, families should bring proof of their address in Marshalltown.

Many families in Marshalltown are now recovering and getting help as they slowly rebuild what Thursday’s tornado swept away, but not everyone in the community feels like they can get the help they need.

12 years ago an immigration raid shook the community of marshalltown when nearly 100 people were arrested and detained. Now, some immigrant families worry seeking help may get them in trouble with immigration authorities.

“It’s so sad that out there the ones that got hit the most are low income families. A lot of them non speaking english communities," said Maria Fragoso, a sales manager for KZAT 95.5.

“I talked to someone today that has no food, no milk, not a roof over their head, and they’re camping in their backyard," she added.

Families are now seeking at the new multi-agency resource center (MARC) inside the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse, where services range from legal aid to questions about insurance.

"When the client comes in, they have the ability to see partners that they didn’t think they need...and so when you get them all together, the clients can get all this information disseminated in one location, and it is really a big support to their recovery," said Charlotte Hazel, who organized the MARC in Marshalltown as part of the of the American Red Cross.

For some families, however, even a service like this leaves them worried.

“In fact a lot of people were calling me today, they were calling me at the radio station asking me, are they asking for immigration status," said Fragoso. "We’re scared to go, we’ve seen the cops there, we don’t want to go.”

Fragoso said her radio station is working hard to make sure families know they can come to the American Red Cross and other agencies for help.

“At red cross, we don’t discriminate," said Hazel. "We have no barriers by which you can receive services.”

The multi agency resource center will be available Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m. – noon for everyone in need of assistance or with questions. To use the center, families should bring proof of their address in Marshalltown.

A fund has been established to help victims get back on their feet. For more information on how to donate, click here.

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