As I start this Monday morning, I pause with thankfulness for answered prayers. We, as a community of “Cedar Rapidians”, have demonstrated once again our ability to come together and make a difference! I hear everyone saying “We rose above…..” and we did…we truly did. It took one single call to action on social media to get meals, snacks, water, drinks, volunteers for the kids and activities donated to the house!

When an emergency situation such as this arises, it affects everyone. Although we were not directly in the flood zone, we provided shelter to those in need. From the moment we heard Waypoint Shelter would be evacuated on Saturday September 24th, we knew we would be in an overflow situation. We anticipated possibly 5 extra residents for at least a few days. By the time Waypoint was evacuated, the Red Cross opened an emergency shelter for all of the evacuees, so there was no need for them to seek shelter here. At this point we decided to take the 1st people who called for shelter. We ended up with a mom with 3 children and a mom with 5 children! We had several queen size air mattresses in the living room, dining room and office. While we were crowded our hearts were full!

I can’t imagine trying to leave a life of crime and violence in my rear view mirror only to come into a situation where a city is on the verge of crisis and half way shut down. This is the story of one of our mothers who came on overflow. When she got off of the bus Friday afternoon she literally had nowhere to go. With 3 young children depending on her to provide for them, she had to go wherever she could to find help. Luckily, she found the hospital and was able to get connected to us. I cringe at the thought of what would have happened or where they would have gone. I am sincere in my efforts to help those in our community, no matter when they arrive.