Volunteer efforts underway to help tornado victims
In the wake of several reported devastating tornadoes in central Iowa, many people are coming forward to help those affected by the twisters in whatever way they can.
In Marshalltown, the Salvation Army received more than 100 volunteers in the day following the destruction, including organizations from out of the city and even the state.
"It’s heartbreaking to know that they really lost everything in some cases," said Mark Gleeson, a volunteer with Heart to Heart International.
Just walking distance from the center of town at the Hy-Vee parking lot, area volunteers are helping families pick up the pieces.
"We’ve taken meals to the workers in the community that is trying to do the cleanup as well as the first responders," said Salvation Army Captain Pam Kasten.
It is there were organizations like Heart to Heart are also stationed out. Gleeson said his group of about six volunteers drove from Kansas to offer families immediate medical care with the help from doctors and physicians.
We’re also provide wound care [and] if somebody lost their insulin or blood pressure medicine," said Gleeson. “I think we’re getting tents vaccines tomorrow, [or] maybe Sunday.
They are also giving families hygiene kits.
“Shampoo, towel, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste," he said.
Meanwhile, the Salvation army is distributing food, cleaning supplies and tarps to help with roof damage to homes. Soon, they will provide services in town with their volunteers.
“We want people to help, we just need to do it safely and make the best of it," said Kasten.
She said people should sign up to volunteer at the Hy-Vee Salvation Army location because it can help them determine how people can help the best and avoid unnecessary chaos in the most dangerous parts of the wreckage.
“If you have chainsaws or a backhoe, or whatever it is that you can help with, and we pair you with a family or a victim that needs that help," said Kasten. “It may not be immediately, like right there in that moment, but we can put you on the list."
As the city begins to clear the streets to open them back up, Kasten said their team will need more help.
"We’re going to need people for feeding and people to continue to get debris out and board stuff up," she said.
In the meantime, organizations said they are welcoming anyone who needs a helping hand or ear to listen on their road to recovery.
“We’ll stop when the need stops," said Gleeson.
The Salvation Army is only requesting monetary donations at this time. Every cent they raise will go to providing the right resources families need in Marshalltown and in other cities affected by the tornadoes. People interested in donating can contact the Salvation Army or visit them at the Hy-Vee location in Marshalltown.